The Eastern Conference-leading Buffalo Sabres look for their first victory against the lowly St. Louis Blues in over nine years Saturday when the teams meet for the first time since the 2003-04 season
The Sabres (25-7-2) have lost eight straight to the Blues (9-19-6) and are winless in the last 10 meetings in the series since a 3-1 victory in St. Louis on Oct. 1, 1997. The teams haven’t met since the Blues won 5-1 in Buffalo on March 7, 2004.
This season, Buffalo’s 52 points lead the East while St. Louis sits in last place in the West with 24 points. The Blues, though, are in the midst of their best stretch of the season under new coach Andy Murray.
St. Louis scored the first three goals of the game Thursday en route to a 5-2 victory over Los Angeles. The Blues have won two in a row, have earned at least one point in a season-high four straight contests and have scored the first goal in all six games since Murray took over for the fired Mike Kitchen on Dec. 11.
“It’s a great feeling,” Blues left wing Keith Tkachuk said.
The Blues, who haven’t won three in a row since Feb. 2-8, are a conference-worst 5-10-3 at home this season. Buffalo, meanwhile, is an NHL-best 15-3-0 away from home.
The Sabres continued their road success on Wednesday with a 7-2 victory over Central Division-leading Nashville. It marked the sixth time this season that Buffalo scored at least seven goals in a game, and the Sabres lead the NHL with 136 goals.
Jason Pominville had two goals and an assist Thursday, and Maxim Afinogenov and Ales Kotalik each scored twice to lead Buffalo to its third straight road win. The Sabres entered the contest with losses in consecutive games for the first time this season.
Kotalik opened the scoring 33 seconds into the game and the Sabres took a 2-1 lead into the second period before scoring three unanswered goals to extend their advantage. Buffalo improved to 11-1-0 in games in which they lead after the first period.
“We wanted to come out quick and play a complete game,” Pominville said. “And we were able to do that.”
Many Sabres have seemed to put their scoring woes in the past.
Pominville registered multiple points for the first time in seven games Thursday, Afinogenov has four goals in five games after not scoring in a season-high five straight contests and Kotalik has four points in his last two games following a season-high five-game drought.
Brian Campbell had his second straight two-assist performance Thursday, and has five in his last three games after going pointless in his previous five contests.
Buffalo has been outscored 10-3 in losing its last three visits to St. Louis.