Buffalo - February 5, 2015 -
Who: St. Louis Blues
Where: First Niagra Center, Buffalo, NY
Know thine enemy: There might not be a team hotter than the St. Louis Blues right now. They’re looking to set a franchise record by picking up a point in their 13th-consecutive game, going 11-0-1 over their last dozen games.
A lot of that has to do with the play of the trio of Alexander Steen, David Backes and T.J. Oshie, who have combined for 63 points over the last 15 games. Still, no one is touching the play of Vladimir Tarasenko. He leads the team with 26 goals and 51 points, putting him sixth and ninth in the league respectively. The Blues are just incredibly deep offensively and there’s legitimately a dozen guys that can hurt you.
Defensively, they’re missing potential Norris Trophy candidate Kevin Shattenkirk, but they still have a plethora of talent and depth on defense, so they shouldn’t miss a beat tonight. Part of the reason they look so good also has to do with the play of Brian Elliott. He’s returned from injury and hasn’t missed a beat, sporting a 1.95 goals against average and .929 save percentage to compliment his 16-5-2 record.
Simply put: the Blues are one of the elite contenders in not only the Western Conference, but the NHL. They are deep, they are talented and they are tough. To say this is going to be a test for the Sabres would be an understatement.
About the Sabres: The losing streak is over, so all is well in Buffalo! Ha ha, just kidding it’s still a massive tire fire.
Jhonas Enroth continues to be as streaky as possible. He’s been very pedestrian over the last two months, but he was sharp as can be against the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night, stopping 32 of 34 shots in the team’s first victory in seemingly ages.
The offense swings as the effort levels of guys like Drew Stafford and Chris Stewart do. They busted hump, made plays and had an impact on the game Tuesday night. When they’re not doing those things, they’re totally invisible and the Sabres likely aren’t winning.
The last time these two met: Jori Lehtera paved the way with a natural hat trick, leading the 6-1 route of the Sabres in St. Louis. This was right around the time the Sabres decided to stop sucking for 13 games and Enroth decided to try gamma radiation.
The part where I predict things: Good for the Sabres for finally getting out of the skids, but they’re running into one of the elite teams in the NHL during their hottest point in franchise history. There is no way in hell this ends well for the Sabres.
Score: 5-1 Blues
Follow me on Twitter: @2PSBlog