The St. Louis Blues have now lost three straight games after a 5-2 loss to Sabres on Tuesday night at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo. Jake Allen played solid for Blues, but it simply was not enough as the Sabres was always on the attack due to the Blues relentless defense getting tired and lack of offense. Jack Eichel scored 2 goals for Buffalo, the game winner and an empty-netter to extend his point streak to 14 straight games. and the Sabres goalie, Linus Ullmark played phenomenal and hats off for receiving the first star of the game.
Right out of the gate, the Sabres won the opening draw and were immediately on the attack with RW, Sam Reinhart sniping the puck five-hole past J. Allen for the 1-0 Sabres lead just 18 seconds into the first period. The goal was assisted by Rookie, Victor Olofsson and D, Brendan Montour. Roughly three minutes later, Robert Thomas passed the puck to Ivan Barbashev who took a hit but still was able to connect to RW, Troy Brouwer, first goal of the season to tie the game at 1. Both teams would slow down offensively and it was a very physical contest delivering big hits left and right. You would think it was the Stanley Cup Finals with this much hitting in the opening frame. After both goalies allowing one apiece, they played lights out for the remainder of the period with no save being better than J. Allen’s incredible stacking the pads save on John Larsson.
The second period began with more intense physicality, nonstop saves by both goaltenders and great penalty kill on both ends. With under 15 minutes to go in the period, Blues C, Brayden Schenn was pushed face first into the boards causing blood to fill his cheeks only to come back out onto the ice to finish his shift. His perseverance was like a rugged hockey player from the 1950s. With time winding down, the Sabres had possession at the Blues end when LW, Jimmy Vesey passed the puck to the blue line to connect to D, Zach Bogosian who shot the puck off the boards, the rebound went straight to C, J. Larsson who scored on a wide open net. J. Allen showed his frustration as the Sabres took a 2-1 lead with just 8.6 seconds left in the second.
The 3rd period began with both goalies still standing tall. J. Allen played like the last goal never happened. Just under 4 minutes into the period, when LW, David Perron pulled off a filthy deke on Sabres D, Henri Jokiharju to find Captain, Alex Pietrangelo for the score to tie up the game at 2. This was A. Pietrangelo’s 100th career NHL goal and it couldn't have come at a more important time for the Blues but unfortunately for them the tie was broken as Sabres Captain, Jack Eichel scored his first goal of the game to give them the 3-2 lead. Despite the Blues keeping pressure on L. Ullmark, he was up for the challenge proving why he could be the starting goalie for his team in the near future. The Sabres would score 2 empty netters, one by Zemgus Girgensons with 50.5 seconds left assisted by J. Larsson and H. Jokiharju and the other by J. Eichel with 1.2 seconds left assisted by Z. Girgensons.
J. Eichel’s 14 game point streak is the second longest in the NHL this season trailing behind Chicago Blackhawks, Patrick Kane. J. Eichel now has 12 goals and 13 assists during this span. The Blues have been dealing with lots of injuries and it showed Tuesday night. Without RW, Vladimir Tarasenko with a shoulder injury, LW, Sammy Blais, undergoing right wrist surgery, LW, Alex Steen, with a left ankle sprain and others, one can see why the team is on a three game losing streak. The Blues need to figure out how to offensively get back into the win column as they are quickly approaching the halfway point of the season.