Sabres try to build off much-needed victory vs. Blues

( – After going over a month without gaining so much as a
point the Buffalo Sabres began February with a victory.

The Sabres will try to keep it going Thursday when they welcome the sizzling
St. Louis Blues to First Niagara Center.

Buffalo was mired in a 0-14-0 stretch before picking up its first win since
late December with Tuesday’s 3-2 victory in Montreal.

The win ended a pair of franchise-worst losing streaks. Buffalo snapped its
longest overall slide while also halting a club-record 14-game road losing
streak. The win over the Canadiens marked Buffalo’s first victory since Dec.
27 against the New York Islanders. The club’s last road win came Nov. 29
against the Canadiens.

Drew Stafford, Matt Moulson and ex-Montreal captain Brian Gionta had first-
period goals for the Sabres, who got 32 saves from Jhonas Enroth.

“The ice was tilted in the last 40 minutes, but Jhonas bailed us out,”
Stafford said.

Buffalo now hopes to halt a five-game home skid, but will have to do so
against a red-hot St. Louis club looking to match its longest winning streak
of the season. The Blues beat a visiting Sabres team, 6-1, on Nov. 11 for its
fifth straight win in this series and St. Louis. Buffalo has lost 15 of 17
overall in this series and has dropped eight of nine at home when facing the

The Blues have won six in a row, one shy of a seven-game run from Oct. 25-Nov.
6. Ken Hitchcock’s club also is currently riding a 12-game point streak
(11-0-1) that has helped move St. Louis within two points of Nashville for
first place in the Central Division.

St. Louis is coming off Tuesday’s home win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. The
overtime victory allowed the Blues to match the longest point streak in
franchise history.

Jaden Schwartz scored 1:16 into overtime to help the Blues slip past Tampa
Bay, 2-1, at Scottrade Center.

Schwartz won the game for the hosts with a brilliant individual effort. He
received a pass from Chris Butler in the neutral zone on the right wing,
skated into the Tampa Bay zone, appeared to lose it in a battle with Bolts
defenseman Victor Hedman before emerging unscathed and beating Ben Bishop at
the left post.

Vladimir Tarasenko picked up the other goal for the Blues, as he tied the game
at 1-1 with 3:10 remaining regulation.

Brian Elliott earned the win thanks to 30 stops. He also reached the franchise
record books with an assist on the game-winning goal, the first St. Louis
netminder to do so on an overtime goal since Darrell May on Nov. 3, 1985 in a
4-3 win at Winnipeg.

“We escaped with two points,” said Elliott. “The way we’re playing, the way
guys are coming through for each other and the belief we can get it done at
the end of the game, that’s what’s getting us through.”

The Blues, who are 13-9-2 as the guest, will aim for a fifth straight road win
tonight when they begin a two-game swing that concludes tomorrow night in

With St. Louis playing on consecutive nights, backup goaltender Jake Allen
could get a start either tonight or on Friday.

Enroth is expected to get the call in net for Buffalo, which is beginning a
five-game homestand tonight and will play its next game Saturday against