Blues seek to bounce back vs. Sabres

( – The St. Louis Blues suffered their first loss in over
two weeks this weekend, but they have an excellent opportunity to bounce back
in Tuesday’s home test against the lowly Buffalo Sabres.

St. Louis had won seven in a row before dropping Saturday’s 2-1 decision
against visiting Nashville. It was the first setback for the Blues since Oct.
23 versus Vancouver.

The Predators posted the regulation win thanks to James Neal’s go-ahead score
with 6:28 remaining in the third period. Jori Lehtera scored the only goal of
the game for the Blues, as he tallied his third of the season with 5:30 left
in the opening period.

“We didn’t have a lot of energy tonight,” said St. Louis head coach Ken
Hitchcock. “They had better energy in the third period.”

Brian Elliott stopped 33 shots for the Blues, who were trying for their
longest winning streak in 12 years. St. Louis last won eight in a row during a
nine-game run from Oct. 15-Nov. 5, 2002.

The setback also allowed Nashville to maintain a one-point lead over the Blues
for first place in the Central Division. The clubs will meet again in St.
Louis on Thursday when the Blues play the fourth part of a five-game

St. Louis is 5-3-0 as the host this season and has won two straight and seven
of its last home games against the Sabres. The Blues have claimed four in a
row and 14 of 16 overall in this series.

Buffalo is currently last in the NHL with only eight points on the season and
the rebuilding club has dropped three straight and six of its last seven.

Elliott is 10-0-2 with a 1.74 goals against average in his career against the

The Sabres last played on Saturday when they were pummeled at home by Sidney
Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Crosby, who has registered a point in 19
straight meetings against the Sabres, dished out five assists to help the Pens
destroy Buffalo, 6-1, at First Niagara Center.

Zemgus Girgensons scored the lone goal for Buffalo, while Jhonas Enroth
stopped 33-of-39 shots in defeat.

“The score was 6-1 so it was definitely us more playing poorly. Any team, if
you’ve got an effort and you can compete, it can be a close game,” Girgensons
said. “But if you don’t try against a team like that then you see the score,
the result.”

Buffalo has lost two meetings versus the Pens this season by a combined 11-1

The Sabres are playing the first of two straight on the road tonight. Buffalo,
which is 2-5-0 as the guest, also will visit Minnesota on Thursday.

Michal Neuvirth will start in net for Buffalo tonight. His only career
appearance versus the Blues was for Washington on March 3, 2011. Neuvirth
picked up the win in that meeting by stopping 25-of-27 shots.