When the ‘Pigeon of the Game’ was first introduced in the Buffalo Sabres locker room, Andrew Peters had a complaint:
“If we’re going by points it’s not fair because I’m never going to get one,” the enforcer joked, discussing the team’s MVP token.
Following the Sabres’ 4-3 win against the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday night at HSBC Arena, it was clear the rules had been adjusted accordingly as the bird sat perched in Peter’s stall.
Although he didn’t register a point in the effort, Peter’s impact was felt with two fights in a 12-minute span in the first period.
“I wish they gave assists for things like that,” Peters laughed. “It’s tough physically. I was pretty drained after that first one… but a lot of it is mental too… you have to be prepared.”
Less than three minutes into the game Peters took on Blues’ 6-foot-6 winger David Koci. The following play the Sabres’ tallied their first goal of the night on a shot by Adam Mair.
Then with 5:35 remaining in the frame, Peters received his second fighting major of the night, battling the 6-foot, 210-pound forward Cam Janssen.
“They do have a couple big guys,” Lindy Ruff said of St. Louis. “[Peters] did as good a job as anybody inside his role tonight, and it’s not an easy job… he’s played well enough in the start of the season when we were down [with injuries]... to go back in the lineup.”
With the return of centermen Tim Connolly, Paul Gaustad and Jochen Hecht
from injury, Peters was a healthy scratch for the last four contests.
Ruff, however, opted to sit agitator Pat Kaleta in favor of Peters against the Blues because of the team’s size.
“Petey’s never one to shy away from that type of game and I’m sure he was chomping at the bit being out of the lineup for a few games,” Mair said. “He did a great job... showed their team and our team that we’re here to play tonight and no one is going to come in here and push us around.
“And for anyone who hasn’t been in a hockey fight before, to do it twice in a matter of 10 minutes is really tough.”
It didn't stop the winger from raising his arms following his second fight to prompt cheers from the fans.
“Pigeon of the game tonight,” Jason Pominville
said. “He played well, he was physical and we got what we expected out of him.”
Henrik Tallinder was noted for more than just his defensive play on the night adding a goal and an assist in the effort.
His performance earned him the first star of the game.
“That’s the first time I ever got the first star, I just have to enjoy it right now”
The last time Tallinder registered multiple points in a game was March 14, 2008 against the Carolina Hurricanes when he added two helpers en route to a 7-1 victory.
Tallinder has not scored both a goal and an assist in a game since Dec. 23, 2005.
Tonight’s win over was the first time the Sabres have beat the Blues in their last 11 match-ups with a record of 0-8-1-2.
The last time the Sabres beat Blues was at The Aud on Oct. 22, 1995 with a 5-2 win.
The two teams have met eight times since the opening of HSBC Arena holding a record of 0-6-2. The Blues have previously outscored the Sabres 28-15.
Wednesday's contest was the only meeting of the season between the two franchises and only their fourth game against each other since the 2003-04 season.
West Seneca native Lee Stempniak tallied his first score against his hometown team.
In his third career game against the Sabres, the Blues’ 25-year-old winger added his second goal of the season 8:08 into the final frame.
Stempniak is one of five Buffalo natives currently playing in the NHL along with Nick Foligno (OTT), Patrick Kaleta
(BUF), Patrick Kane (CHI) and Todd Marchant (ANA).