Sabres get back in action on Thursday in St. Louis

Buffalo has not beaten the Blues on the road since December of 2009

Paul Hamilton
January 09, 2020 - 2:09 pm
Sabres-Blues

Photo: Bill Boyce - Associated Press

Categories: 

St. Louis, MO (WGR 550) - The Sabres have won their last two against the Blues probably because both games were in Buffalo. The Sabres have lost seven in a row in St. Louis dating back to 2009.

Overall, the Sabres have won their last two games, but have been off since Saturday and are falling further and further behind. Buffalo is fifth in the Atlantic Division, but is nine points behind Toronto and Tampa Bay for the final two playoff spots in the division.

Buffalo trails Florida by four points and leads Montreal by two.

In the Wild Card race, they’re seven points back of Carolina and Philadelphia, as both teams hold down those spots.

Michael Frolik will make his Sabres debut on Thursday. He had five goals and five assists for 10 points in 38 games this season with Calgary.

Linus Ullmark will get the call in goal for the eighth straight game. He’s 3-4-0 in the seven games he’s played. Ullmark has given up two or fewer goals in five of those seven games.

Ullmark has started 12-of-13 games as the coaching staff has lost confidence in Carter Hutton.

Krueger said he’ll dress 12 forwards and seven defensemen for warmup because there are a couple of players that he has to make sure can play. Jack Eichel is not one of them. He missed practice earlier this week, but will play on Thursday.

Krueger has been impressed in practice with defenseman Lawrence Pilut, but wouldn’t say if he’d play against the Blues. Krueger said, “He looked really strong yesterday in practice and again, that was just practice. But to see Pilut play here in the next few games is definitely something we’d like to do.”

The Blues are 19-0-5 when they score the first goal. They are also very comfortable in one-goal games, going 13-0-7. With the last game on Saturday, there’s a good chance the Sabres could come out rusty. Krueger said that can’t happen, “After five days without a game, it seems like forever, so it’s going to be important to get a good start here. We all know that we need to activate our game plan pretty early because if we wait and hesitate, they’ll take advantage of that.”

Buffalo has lost its last five on the road, and nine out of its last 10.

Eichel has points in four straight games, and 22 out of 24 games. Sam Reinhart has played two games in 2020 and scored in both of them. It seems like he needs 30 or 40 games each season to get himself going consistently.

The defending Stanley Cup champions lead the Western Conference by a wide margin over Dallas, Colorado, Arizona and Vegas. The Blues are second in the NHL with a .693 points percentage.

In their last 15 games against the Sabres, St. Louis is 12-2-1.

The Blues have won their last six games at home and are 14-4-3 overall.

Ryan O’Reilly has eight goals and 31 assists for 39 points in 44 games. That comes out to only 15 goals for the season, but it does come out to 73 points, which is a good year.
O’Reilly has an eight-game home point streak, picking 10 points. The former Sabre has five points in his last three games.

Jordan Binnington will get his first game ever against the Sabres. This season, he’s 20-7-4 with a 2.53 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage. In his short career, Binnington is 44-12-5 with a 2.21 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage. That’s a points percentage of .762.

Vladimir Tarasenko is out long-term with an upper-body injury. Sammy Blais, Carl Gunnarsson and Colton Parayko have missed games recently due to injuries.

Join Brian Koziol for the pregame starting 7:00 when he’ll be joined by Krueger, Frolik and Henri Jokiharju.

Comments ()