It doesn't look as though the Buffalo Sabres plan on relinquishing their lead in the Northeast Division anytime soon.
Mike Grier tied the game early in the third period on a fortuitous bounce and Tim Connolly added power-play and shorthanded goals as the Sabres used a three-goal rally Sunday to defeat the St. Louis Blues 5-3 at Scottrade Center.
"We didn't play well (Saturday) night," said Grier, who had also scored in the second. "I think we all kind of felt anxious coming into the game tonight and the guys battled. I think it took us a while to find our legs, but we battled and hung in there."
Grier and Connolly each finished with three-point nights. Jochen Hecht had the other Buffalo goal and Patrick Lalime stopped 32 shots. The Sabres maintained a five-point lead in the Northwest over the Bruins, who also won Sunday.
Alex Steen had a pair of goals and Eric Brewer also tallied for the Blues, who are now 6-12-2 on home ice.
"We came out with the mindset of pushing the shot clock and getting pucks to the net, playing in the offensive zone," Blues coach Andy Murray said. "They took advantage of their opportunities. … Tough to lose."
Brewer and Steen scored 6:10 apart in the second period to give St. Louis a 3-2 lead after 40 minutes.
But Grier sparked Buffalo when he redirected a Tim Kennedy pass that squirted through Ty Conklin at 3:15 of the third.
"I went to close my legs to cover the puck and it hit the inside of my knees and just squirted in," Conklin said. "It's just a fluky goal.
"I knew exactly where it was. I was looking at it. I just went to close my legs. … That probably won't happen again in two years. It was a fluky goal, but it sets a bad tone for the third period."
That became evident after Erik Johnson was sent off for holding at 6:32 and Connolly scored the go-ahead goal 50 seconds later. This time it was Chris Butler taking a shot that Connolly was able to redirect past Conklin to give the Sabres a 4-3 lead.
"We were able to move the puck and get a wrist shot through," Connolly said. "I was able to get a piece of it and fortunately, it went into the net."
A hooking penalty on Hecht with 4:25 left put the Blues in prime position to net the tying goal, but instead Connolly added insurance by scoring shorthanded with 3:16 remaining off a Grier feed.
"Grier beat the guy, spun out and made a great backhand pass to me," Connolly said. "I was able to get in there and get a break and get it up over (Conklin's glove)."
Steen and Hecht traded goals in the first period. Grier gave Buffalo a 2-1 lead at 7:47 of the middle period, scoring off a cross-ice feed from Kennedy.
Material from wire services was used in this report.