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Buffalo Sabres PreGame Skate #23: St. Louis Blues

The Buffalo Sabres (5-16-1) return home after a home and home series with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

After splitting the decisions with Toronto in Ted Nolan‘s inaugural weekend, the Buffalo Sabres are getting down to the brass tax.  The cycle to the press box is over, and Ted Nolan starts making some hard decisions regarding the roster makeup of the Buffalo Sabres team he inherited just less than one week ago. 

The St. Louis Blues (13-3-3) are going to be a very difficult test for the Buffalo Sabres.  On top of being one of the hottest teams in the Western Conference – St. Louis performs well against the Buffalo Sabres.  In the last ten meetings between the two teams, Buffalo is 2-6-2.  In the last ten games against the Blues in Buffalo – that record drops to 1-7-2.  Buffalo is 30-19-6 all time against the Blues at home.

Buffalo’s defense needs to be on notice heading into this game – St. Louis is home to the league leader in points (tied with Sidney Crosby with 26) and goals (tied with Alex Ovechkin with 17) in Alex Steen. Nine players on the Blues already have ten or more points, and have another two knocking on the door of double digit points.  Only Matt Moulson has more than ten points, Cody Hodgson could be at ten with a goal or an assist. 

While the Sabres haven’t been on the ice in a game situation since Saturday – the well rested Blue and Gold will be facing a Blues team that will be looking for retribution – having lost their last content to the Washington Capitals.  In the tight Western Conference race – the Blues need all the points they can get.  While the Blues will be looking for victory, the Sabres will be looking to make this three in a row at home.   

At 13-3-3 with 29 points, that is only good enough for sixth place in the West – in the Eastern Conference the Blues would have the top spot edging the Tampa Bay Lightning by a point.

While Steen looks to try and separate himself as a league leader in scoring, the Buffalo Sabres will continue to evolve under interim head coach Ted Nolan – who appears to have no interest in letting the young players develop in the NHL. 

This is bad news for guys like Nikita Zadorov, Rasmus Ristolainen, and Mikhail Grigorenko.  All could be seeing their NHL days numbered for this season. 

I don’t mind so much that Ted Nolan wants to win, and in his mind he needs NHL caliber players, not kids trying to find their way.  How much will that winning hurt he Sabres chances at the top overall pick in this years draft – which seemed to be the goal of the organization, up until last week when the regime change took place. 

Game time is scheduled for 7PM. 


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Tags: Alex Steen Buffalo Sabres Pregame St. Louis Blues

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