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Sabres Notebook: Schwartz's status in doubt for Blues

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- The St. Louis Blues rolled to another big victory Saturday but might be without one of their big weapons when they meet the Buffalo Sabres Sunday night in Scottrade Center.

Winger Jaden Schwartz, who has 35 points in the team's first 30 games, was helped from the ice during the first period of Saturday's 6-1 win in Detroit after taking a shot to the foot. X-rays were negative but coach Mike Yeo said the foot was sore, so it would seem unlikely Schwartz would play against the Sabres.

Prior to the injury, Schwartz scored his 14th goal of the seaason. He's second on the team in both goals and points and is one behind in each category to center Brayden Schenn, whose offseason acquisition from Philadelphia has added major spark to the St. Louis offense with 15 goals, 21 assists and a plus-24 rating.

The Blues are also getting a big season from Vladimir Tarasenko (13-18-31) and a monster year from defenseman Alex Pietrangelo (7-16-23).

"They've got terrific balance up front and their 'D' are playing awfully well," Buffalo coach Phil Housley said Saturday in the St. Louis Ice Zone. "You look at a guy like Pietrangelo and he could possibly be a frontrunner for the Norris at this point of the season. He's jumping up in the play.

"They really complement each other and the trade to get Brayden Schenn here, well, he's been terrific. They're really going well right now and you always have the threat of Tarasenko. You've got to be aware of where he is on the ice. They're playing a total team game."

The Sabres are 0-4-1 in their last five road games against the Blues, last posting a win with a 5-3 victory on Dec. 27, 2009.

Housley played 26 games for the Blues in 1993-94, collecting seven goals and 15 assists before he was dealt to Calgary in a trade for Al MacInnis. Housley's name is on the wall at the practice facility as part of a listing of ex-St. Louis players inducted in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

"I didn't play many games. I had back surgery here but they were terrific people here," he said. 'The people here were great and I had an opportunity to play with Brett Hull and Brendan Shanahan to name a few guys. It was a good group of players."

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Sabres defensemen Rasmus Ristolainen and Zach Bogosian stayed off the ice Saturday for what Housley termed as maintenance days and will be ready for Sunday's game. Ristolainen has gone over 30 minutes in back-to-back games, piling up 31:42 in Friday's loss in Chicago.

Zemgus Girgensons has been a healthy scratch the last two games but Housley is encouraged by the forward's work and could go back to him Sunday.

"I thought this was one of his best practices in a long time," Housley said. "We'll make that decision tomorrow but it's good to see him with a little jump in his step controlling the play in the small game area. He brought some good energy."

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Friday's loss dropped the Sabres to 5-0-4 when leading after two periods this season, the second-worst points percentage in the league in those spots at .550. Arizona and Anaheim are the only teams in the league to lose five games when leading after 40 minutes. Seventeen of the league's 31 teams are either perfect in those situations or with only one loss.

The Blackhawks had lost five in a row until Friday's victory -- and Chicago sports teams had dropped 21 in a row heading into Friday. The Bulls snapped a 10-game skid with an overtime win at Charlotte while the Bears had dropped six in a row.

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Housley said he has not spoken to General Manager Jason Botterill for any update regarding the status of Alexander Nylander's eligibility for the World Junior Championships.

Nylander was not listed on the preliminary camp roster for Sweden but could ostensibly be added at any point in advance of the tournament in KeyBank Center, which runs from Dec. 26-Jan. 5. The Swedes said over the summer they would take Nylander if the Sabres released him for the event.

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