ST. LOUIS - There is no team in the National Hockey League that gives the Buffalo Sabres more trouble than the St. Louis Blues. It was more of the same Tuesday night in Scottrade Center as the Blues scored two goals early in the third period to snap a tie and post a 4-1 victory that was their ninth straight over Buffalo.
The Sabres' winless streak hit five games (0-3-2) and they fell to 0-8-1 against St. Louis since a win here on Dec. 27, 2009.
The game was tied at 1-1 through 40 minutes and the Sabres nearly took the lead when Johan Larsson cranked a shot off the crossbar 13 seconds into the third period. St. Louis took the lead at 44 seconds as Jaden Schwartz had an easy dump into an empty net from the goal crease after Dmitrij Jaskin cut in on Buffalo goalie Robin Lehner.
The Blues made it 3-1 at 2:19 on Kyle Brodziak's first goal of the season, a neat tip from in front off a Ryan Reaves pass. Scottie Upshall scored into an empty net with 1:26 left.
Sam I Am: The Sabres opened the scoring on a power play at 7:55 of the first period as Sam Reinhart outworked Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester for a loose puck in front and banged home his third goal of the season. It came just 18 seconds after Scottie Upshall was sent off for an offensive zone hooking penalty. It was only the second goal in the last nine games for Reinhart.
Quick Response: The Blues halved Buffalo's response time, taking just nine seconds to score on their power play to forge a 1-1 tie. Center Robby Fabbri got the goal at 10:58 of the first after the Sabres were nailed for too many men on the ice. Vladimir Tarasenko's shot ricocheted off Buffalo defenseman Josh Gorges and Fabbri had a mostly empty net with Robin Lehner out of position playing the initial shot.
Getting a jump: The Sabres have scored first in nine of their 16 games but have won only four of them, posting a 4-1-4 record.
Pugilism Report: Gorges got the better of Fabbri during a spirited scrap at 5:52 of the second period, a bout that came after the Blues were annoyed by a Gorges hit on Alexander Steen. During the second period, Steen twice went to the Blues dressing room for treatment in the wake of the hit.
Sick Bay: Defenseman Dmitry Kulikov missed his third straight game while center Ryan O'Reilly sat out for the second straight with what coach Dan Bylsma is terming as "mid-body injuries." Although both are listed as day to day Bylsma said he's more concerned about Kulikov's return and is hopeful of O'Reilly playing as soon as Thursday night's visit by Tampa Bay.
Kulikov has been hampered all season since suffering a butt bruise during his lone preseason game with the Sabres after returning from the World Cup of Hockey.
"This is not an extension of that but it's in the same vicinity so it's not something pinpointed like a groin injury would be," Bylsma said after morning skate. "We think he's getting better. He was dealing with an injury he was playing with that was nagging and getting to the point it was affecting what he could do on the ice. We just want to get away from that."
More on ROR: Earlier in the day, during his weekly appearance on WGR Radio, Bylsma expressed similar sentiments about O'Reilly.
"Let's be clear: Ryan wants to be out there, wants to play," Bylsma said. "He would play with 50 percent ability. He would get out there. That's not an issue at all. Soemtimes if you have a broken finger, you splint it up, tape it and deal with pain. You know it will be fine. The type of injury he has, you don't want it to linger for three weeks because he played for one day. We just want to get to a spot where he can return to play and return to play full time."
Up Next: The Sabres play their next four games at home, starting Thursday night against Tampa Bay. The homestand also includes games Saturday against defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh, Monday against Calgary and Nov. 23 against Detroit. The next road game is not until Nov. 25, the day after Thanksgiving, at Washington.