With a season-high five straight wins, the Buffalo Sabres are one of the league's hottest teams. Now, they must figure out a way to extend that streak against a club that's dominated them at home for more than a decade.
Buffalo will try for its first home win over the St. Louis Blues in more than 12 years as they meet on Wednesday night at HSBC Arena.
The Sabres have gone 0-5-0 with two ties against the Blues after defeating them 5-2 on Oct. 22, 1995. This will be St. Louis' first visit to Buffalo since a 5-1 victory on March 7, 2004.
Though it's taken more than one quarter of the season, the Sabres (11-10-1) are looking more like the team that won the Presidents' Trophy in 2006-07. On Monday, Jochen Hecht had two goals and an assist and Ryan Miller stopped 30 shots as Buffalo topped Washington 3-1.
Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said bounces are finally going his team's way.
"We had two or three games before (the streak) we deserved to win; we did everything but win," he said. "We outplayed, we outshot and we got nothing for it. (But) we got a couple of bounces to start the streak and ever since then, guys have kind of lightened up and played even better."
Improved play by Miller has been a big reason for the Sabres' turnaround. He's been in goal for four wins during the streak and has posted a 1.50 goals-against average. Backup Jocelyn Thibault got the other win, stopping 24 shots in 3-0 victory Saturday at Montreal.
Miller has never faced the Blues while Thibault is 7-8-0 with two ties and a 2.75 GAA in 18 career starts against them, but none since March 2004.
With three goals in his last two games, Hecht is tied with Derek Roy for the team lead with eight. Hecht was drafted by the Blues in 1995 and played for them from 1998-2001.
St. Louis (13-8-0) won for the sixth time in seven games after a 3-0 victory over Calgary on Sunday. Jamal Mayers scored the first of his two goals 27 seconds into the contest and Manny Legace stopped 24 shots for first shutout of the season.
"From the drop of the puck, we were ready to play tonight," said Legace, who is 2-0-0 with a 2.86 GAA in two starts against the Sabres, none in Buffalo.
The Blues' Brad Boyes scored his team-leading 13th goal in the win over the Flames, and has six points in his last five games overall. While playing with Northeast Division rival Boston, Boyes had a six-game points streak against the Sabres from March 7-Nov. 2, 2006, but has failed to score in his last five games against them.