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ST. LOUIS -- Center Maxim Lapierre scored early in the second period and St. Louis goalie Brian Elliott came within 55 seconds of earning his second consecutive shutout in a 2-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres Thursday night that set a franchise record for victories in a season by the Blues.

The win was the 52nd of the season for the Blues, breaking the franchise record of 51 that was set in the 1999-2000 season, the only previous season the Blues led the NHL in points. Their win gave the Blues 111 points, tying them with Boston in the race for the President's Trophy after the Bruins lost 4-3 in overtime to Toronto.

Lapierre ended a personal and team scoring drought when he took a pass from right winger Ryan Reaves and fired a shot from the slot that beat goalie Nathan Lieuwen 1:59 into the middle period. It was Lapierre's first goal since Jan. 28 and was the first goal scored by the Blues in more than 106 minutes.

Elliott protected the 1-0 lead until left winger Brenden Morrow finally got the second goal for the Blues with just 1:52 left in the game.

Elliott, making only his third start since the Blues acquired goalie Ryan Miller from Buffalo on Feb. 28, stopped 23 shots before center Cody Hodgson scored on a power play with 55 seconds left to cut the St. Louis lead to 2-1.

The Sabres, in last place in the point standings, had only five shots on goal before getting two power-play chances late in the second period but could not get a shot past Elliott, who has stopped 77 of 80 shots in his four games (including one in which he replaced Miller) since the trade.

The Blues, who have won five of their last six games, have six games remaining in the regular season.

NOTES: The Blues elected to start Brian Elliott in goal instead of having Ryan Miller face his former team. Miller is expected to play this weekend against both the Colorado Avalanche and Chicago Blackhawks, the two teams closest to the Blues in the Central Division race. ... The only player involved in the Feb. 28 trade who was in the lineup was Blues LW Steve Ott. The Sabres traded G Jaroslav Halak to Washington, and Buffalo RW Chris Stewart is out with an ankle injury. ... Blues LW Alexander Steen (upper body) and D Barret Jackman (lower body) did not play, but the team hopes they will be back on the ice this weekend. ... Sabres D Jake McCabe made his NHL debut one day after signing with the team following his junior year at Wisconsin. The 20-year-old was Buffalo's second-round pick in the 2012 draft.
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