ST. LOUIS — The Buffalo Sabres have secured three of the first four points on their Central Division road trip. Even with the disappointment of Friday's overtime loss in Chicago, a win or even a point Sunday night in Scottrade Center over the St. Louis Blues would make for an ultra-successful trip.
The game is a 6 p.m. local start, meaning 7 p.m. Eastern on MSG and WGR Radio 550. The Blues are 20-8-2 and third overall in the NHL. They have won three straight. The Sabres (7-17-5) are 2-9-3 in their last 14 games.
Here are Five Things to Know about tonight's game:
1. Blues lineup news: It's the biggest storyline going as No. 1 defenseman Alex Pietrangelo (lower body, day to day) and star winger Jaden Schwartz (ankle, six weeks) will both be out of the lineup tonight).
2. In the nets: Red-hot Robin Lehner (6-12-3, 2.92/.909) makes the start for the Sabres after stopping 83 of 88 shots in the first two games of this trip. The Blues will counter with Jake Allen (16-6-2, 2.56/.912), using their starter in back-to-back games for the first time this year; Allen stopped 28 of 29 shots Saturday in Detroit and the Blues feel Allen will have adequate rest because the game was a matinee and he wasn't tested too much.
As for Lehner, he made 48 saves in Chicago. That's his highest total as a Sabre and the second-most of his career behind the 53 he made for Ottawa in a 5-4 shootout loss to the New York Islanders on Nov. 1, 2013.
"He's a battler," coach Phil Housley said as the Sabres had a very optional morning skate today. "He competes really hard especially on the second opportunities. Initially he's just letting the puck hit him. He's a big guy playing his angles really well, he's tight. His reaction to some of the shots coming off him show he's fighting and battling to find that puck and it's great to see."
3. Sabres lineup news: Zemgus Girgensons is back in tonight after sitting out two games as a healthy scratch. Jordan Nolan will sit. The rest of the lineup remains the same. Nathan Beaulieu (flu) did not make the trip. Girgensons is expected to slot in on the fourth line with Johan Larsson and Hudson Fasching.
4. Struggles with St. Louis: Buffalo's 3-2 win over the Blues on Feb. 18 in KeyBank Center snapped the Sabres' nine-game losing streak with St. Louis. The Sabres are just 3-16-3 in their 22 games against St. Louis. They are 0-4-1 in their last five here, with no wins since a 5-3 victory on Dec. 27, 2009.
5. Numbers games: Ryan O'Reilly plays his 600th NHL game tonight. ... Rasmus Ristolainen has played 30+ minutes on both games of this trip, the first time a Sabre has done that since Dmitri Kalinin in 2004. No Buffalo player has ever gone over 30 in three straight games, according to Elias Sports. ... St. Louis defensemen lead the NHL with 23 goals. The Sabres are last with one. ... The Sabres are 1 for 32 on the power play in the last 11 games. They have 11 power-play goals on the season and have allowed an NHL-worst eight short-handed goals.