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Sabres again suffer overtime blues

ST. LOUIS – Overtime hasn’t been kind to the Buffalo Sabres of late. For the second time in three games, the Sabres were confounded in extra time.

Alexander Steen scored the only goal of a shootout to give the St. Louis Blues a 3-2 win over the Sabres on Thursday in Scottrade Center. Saturday in Buffalo, Patrick Marleau scored in overtime for San Jose to give the Sharks a 2-1 win in First Niagara Center.

Steen’s backhand deke just dribbled over the line past Linus Ullmark. Jake Allen stopped Ryan O’Reilly, Tyler Ennis and Evander Kane, with Kane’s shot hitting the crossbar.

It was the Sabres’ second shootout of the season. Their previous one was a win at home over Toronto on Oct. 21.

Overtime magic: The wild 3-on-3 session saw Buffalo outshoot St. Louis, 4-3, and both teams had ample chances to score. Vladimir Tarasenko’s breakaway might have been the best chance but his shot hit the outside of the goal post. The Sabres outshot St. Louis, 34-29, through 65 minutes.

Back in the saddle: Winger Evander Kane, out 10 games with an MCL injury to his knee, stepped right back on to a line with Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart. Kane had only one goal in his first eight games but had 28 shots on goal and plenty of scoring chances in those games.

Zemgus Girgensons missed his second straight game with an upper body injury so Kane put some of Girgensons’ missing punch back into the Buff attack.

“He brings so much,’ said Ryan O’Reilly. “He has such physicality and the way he shoots the puck, other teams see him and they get afraid.”

Old home days: Kane knows all about the Blues from his days in the Central Division with Winnipeg and he’ll see them again Monday in First Niagara Center. “They try to make it very hard on other teams,” he said. “They don’t give you much offensively so you have to work for everything you get. If you’re looking for a light game, this isn’t one you want to be in, that’s for sure. You have to be mentally ready and physically ready.”

Bouncing back: The Sabres twice came back to tie the game, with Sam Reinhart making it 1-1 at 1:31 of the second by pounding home a Rasmus Ristolainen rebound and Ryan O’Reilly pulling Buffalo even, 2-2, at 1156 of the second. That goal came after good work down low by Matt Moulson and a nifty back pass from captain Brian Gionta.

Giving Buffalo the Blues: St. Louis started the season 0 for 23 at home on the power play but have now scored in three straight games here. They burned the Sabres twice Thursday, on Kevin Shattenkirk’s goal in the first period and Vladimir Tarasenko’s tally in the second. The Sabres continue to be last in the NHL on road penalty kills, slipping below 70 percent.

Tough hit: The Shattenkirk goal at 5:34 of the first period came 34 seconds after Tyler Ennis was sent off for a five-minute major for boarding. Ennis pushed defenseman Alex Pietrangelo from behind and Pietrangelo slid heavily into the boards. He was uninjured and returned to the game, perhaps mitigating the chance Ennis hears from the NHL’s Department of Player Safety about the infraction.

Tough guy Tyler: What’s up with Ennis in this building? His first NHL fight and first career major was in this building last November as he tussled with Alexander Steen as part of a multiplayer scrap between the teams in the third period of a 6-1 St. Louis win.

In the net: The Sabres went with Linus Ullmark in goal for the second straight game, breaking a five-game pattern of alternating Ullmark and Chad Johnson in goal.

“We’re looking this more at a lot of games coming in the next 10 days,” said coach Dan Bylsma. “We looked at it going forward. There’s a lot of games. He’s shown some great ability to make solid saves and difficult saves look easy.”

Pysyk banged up: The Sabres inserted former St. Louis defender Carlo Colaiacovo on their blue line in place of Mark Pysyk, who is day to day with a lower-body injury suffered Tuesday against Dallas. Tim Schaller was scratched to allow for the return of Evander Kane.

Up next: The back-and-forth in the Central Division continues Saturday night in Dallas in a rematch of the Stars’ 3-1 win Tuesday in Buffalo.

email: mharrington@buffnews.com