The Buffalo Sabres are looking for their third straight win while the St. Louis Blues are on a six-game win streak. Here's what to watch for in KeyBank Center for Saturday's 1 p.m. faceoff:
1. The Blues are 7-1-0 under Mike Yeo. Yeo took over after the team fired coach Ken Hitchcock and since then St. Louis has been on tear. They are 7-1-0 since Feb. 2 allowing just 1.38 goals a game and scoring 3.25 in that time span. They enter Saturday's game on a season-high six-game win streak.
"They’re playing with a belief that they can win," Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said of St. Louis when he met with the media Saturday morning. "They’ve been a big, heavy team. They’ve been a strong team on the forecheck. They have a good set of defensemen back there that move the puck up and I think they’ve just played a little more freer and played with a belief that they can win. Their wins have come in some different ways and not all perfect games from them. … They have the mojo. They have the belief that they can win hockey games and they’re doing it – 7-1 since Mike has taken over."
2. Robin Lehner will start for the Sabres. It will be the fifth straight start for Lehner who has won three of those games including making 23 stops in a 2-0 shutout win against Colorado on Thursday.
“We’ve had a chance to kind of give Robin the net a little bit more in the last two weeks,” Bylsma said on Friday. “He’s handled it really well. He’s gotten better and better really over the last few games. He’s been in control, controlled more rebounds and been in control in those tight-in situations.
3. Cody Franson is back. Franson will return to the lineup after missing the last four games with a foot injury. Franson blocked a shot in the first period of the Feb. 9 game against Anaheim. Originally thought to be out for two to three weeks, he returns early. Bylsma said the rest of the lineup would be a game-time decision.
4. The Sabres have not had success against St. Louis. The Sabres are winless in their last nine games against the Blues (0-8-1) which includes a four-game losing streak at home. The last time the Sabres defeated the Blues was a 5-3 win Dec. 27, 2009 in St. Louis. There are no Sabres on the current roster who played in that game and only three current members of the Blues (Patrick Berglund, David Perron and Alexander Steen) played for St. Louis in that game.
5. The Blues goaltending is really good. Jake Allen has won four games in a row and five of his last six starts. In his last three road wins, Allen has a 1.00 goals against average, a .967 save percentage and one shutout. Meanwhile Carter Hutton has won five of his last six road starts including shutouts in his last two.