BUFFALO, NY - The Blues have a chance to make history tonight when they meet the Buffalo Sabres at 6 p.m. CT at First Niagara Center (FSMW, KMOX 1120).
The club has points in 12 consecutive games (11-0-1), a mark they’ve reached three times over the course of their history, but the Blues have never earned points in 13 straight.
That’s the opportunity they have tonight, but it’s not something they’ll be thinking about.
“We just go out there and try to continue our solid play,” said Blues goalie Jake Allen, who will get the start tonight. “Another three games in three and a half days, so more big tests Thursday through Sunday.”
That first test is tonight. The Sabres are coming off a 3-2 victory against the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday in which goalie Jhonas Enroth made 23 saves. Beating one of the best teams in the East is all the evidence the Blues need to make sure they don’t overlook the Sabres tonight.
“A lot of people underestimate their forwards,” Allen said. “They have a lot of quick, skilled forwards. If you take your foot off the pedal at all, they can make you look silly. We’re going to be prepared tonight.”
The Blues and Sabres previously met on Nov. 11. Jori Lehtera had a natural hat trick, Joakim Lindstrom scored twice and Jaden Schwartz had three assists in a 6-1 victory at Scottrade Center.
The Blues have won five straight against the Buffalo and 15 of the last 17 meetings overall.
Steve Ott is back in Buffalo for the first time since being traded to St. Louis nearly a year ago.
Ott was a fan-favorite in his nearly two-year stint with the Sabres.
“I really loved my time here, and my family loved the time here. It’s something special to be able to come back and face these guys,” Ott said after the morning skate. “You try to get that nervous energy out right away, but at the same time, you’ve got to play your game.”
The 32-year-old Summerside, PEI native spent nine seasons with the Dallas Stars before ending up in Buffalo, where he played 107 games, scoring 18 goals and 26 assists (44 points).
Patrik Berglund has been practicing for the last several days and was on the ice with his teammates this morning in Buffalo.
Berglund, who sustained an upper-body injury on Jan. 29 vs. Nashville, has been labeled a game-time decision.
Video: Berglund Takes the Ice in Buffalo
“We bumped him around a little bit and we’ll see how he feels in an hour or so,” said Blues Head Coach Ken Hitchcock. “If he feels good, then we’re going to put him in and play him. He looks fine. He’s practiced hard for three days now, skated hard, he feels good. Hopefully he’s healthy and ready to go.”
COMING UP CLUTCH
Trailing 1-0 Tuesday vs. Tampa Bay, Vladimir Tarasenko came up big with 3:10 left in regulation, forcing overtime and eventually helping the Blues to a 2-1 win. According to Stats Inc., Tarasenko ranks second in the League in clutch goals with six, trailing only Montreal’s Max Pacioretty, who has eight.
Stats Inc. defines “clutch” goals as ones scored in the last 10 minutes of a third period where the goal differential is one goal or less, or overtime goals.
Tarasenko currently ranks ninth in the NHL in scoring with 51 points (26 goals, 25 assists). The last Blue to be in the Top 10 in NHL scoring at the end of a season was Pavol Demitra in 2002-03 with 93 points.
The Blues have won six consecutive games overall and have won a season-best four straight on the road.
The Blues have won 15 of the last 16 games with Jaden Schwartz in the lineup. Schwartz missed seven games (Dec. 18 - Jan. 2) with a foot injury in which the Blues went 1-5-1. Against Buffalo, Schwartz has a three-game point streak (two goals, two assists).