The way the NHL runs its scheduling department, its not hard to believe that the last time the Sabres won in St. Louis was the first year Lindy Ruff coached the team, in 1997. Literally, it was the season opener his first year as coach.
The Sabres first period woes were destined to continue as they allowed the first goal again, and trailed for most of the game. They briefly held a 2-1 advantage before losing that, and for only the thrid time this season came from behind in the final period to win a game.
On the heels of a Connolly and Grier two goal, three point game, and in a battle of offense that made both goaltenders look like backups – the Sabres set the offense on cruise missile after being on pop-gun running the score to 5-3.
I loved the fact that Craig Rivet set the tone early on in the first shift, as he quickly got into a scrum with Crombeen. Not only did he stick up for his teammate Kaleta, back in his first contest from injury, but he set a tone that he didn’t want to see another flat first period.
Patrick Lalime was able to hold off the Blues long enough to keep his team in the contest, and then long enough to keep them in the game.
Late penalties almost cost the Sabres, and caught the Blues with their pants down. Connolly’s game winning goal on the power play snapped a 0-21 Penalty Killing streak by St. Louis. The loss continued to home woes in St. Louis, where they are a miserable 6-12-2 this year. If they can somehow break the top 8 teams in the West, you can almost bet they will be hoping for a 5-8 seed just so they play more away games.
The Sabres improved to 7-0 against Western Conference teams, and travel home for a Tuesday night date with the Pittsburgh Penguins.