ST. LOUIS – A bad start foreshadowed a bad finish for the Buffalo Sabres here Thursday night. The numbers held to form.
Winger Robert Thomas scored St. Louis' first goal and finished with a three-point night as the Blues breezed past Buffalo, 5-1, in Enterprise Center.
The Blues remained the NHL's only team without a regulation loss in games where they've scored the first goal, improving to 20-0-5 in those spots.
The result left several other streaks intact:
• It was St. Louis' eighth straight home win over Buffalo dating to December 2009. The Sabres have been outscored in those games, 31-11, and haven't scored more than two goals in any of them.
• It was the Blues' seventh straight home win overall, tying Dallas' run from Oct. 29-Nov. 25 for the longest in the NHL this season.
• It was Buffalo's sixth straight loss on the road (0-5-1). The result dropped the Sabres to 2-11-3 in their last 16 games away from KeyBank Center and 6-13-4 on the road overall.
• St. Louis goalie Jordan Binnington made his first career start against Buffalo a success and won his sixth straight game at home.
An early goal: Thomas put St. Louis up at 4:47 of the first period with a quick wrist shot as Zemgus Girgensons waved at him skating through the right circle on a possession that started with a turnover by Colin Miller.
A deeper hole: Thomas fed Tyler Bozak for a tap-in at 13:29 of the first on a play that saw Curtis Lazar and Brandon Montour push Blues winger Alex Steen into Ullmark.
Bouncing back: The Sabres got a goal by Jack Eichel at 4:22 of the second to cut the margin to 2-1. Utilizing a nifty pick from defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, Eichel found room in the slot and his quick wrist shot beat Binnington for his 27th goal of the season.
— Buffalo Hockey moments (@SabresPlays) January 10, 2020
PK unit fails again: The lone penalty over the first two periods was a high-sticking call on Buffalo's Rasmus Asplund and the Blues took advantage at 10:17 of the second on David Perron's team-high 19th goal of the season, a laser that beat Ullmark to the top corner on the glove side.
Called back: The Blues took an apparent 4-1 lead with 2:36 left in the second period as Jaden Schwartz banged home a rebound but the goal was wiped out on an offside challenge. Replays showed Jordan Kyrou crossed the line with his skate in the air just before Brayden Schenn entered the zone. It's the second straight game a Kyrou offside has wiped out a St. Louis goal.
A three-goal lead for real: St. Louis winger Alexander Steen scored his first goal of the season at 5:36 of the third, taking a Thomas pass from behind the net and banging the puck into the net at the end of a scrambly sequence that saw Ullmark dive to his left and get caught out of the goal. Steen got No. 2 of the season on an empty-netter with 4:42 left.
O'Reilly report: Former Sabres center Ryan O'Reilly fed Steen for the empty-net tally. It was O'Reilly's team-high 32nd assist and 40th point of the season. O'Reilly has a nine-game point streak at home, breaking his personal mark of eight set with the Sabres in 2017.
The lineup: Evan Rodrigues and Scott Wilson were healthy scratches for Buffalo. The Sabres went with 11 forwards and seven defensemen, with winger Michael Frolik making his Buffalo debut up front and Lawrence Pilut making his season debut on the back end.
Party time coming: The Blues are two weeks away from hosting the NHL's All-Star Weekend and signage is already up on the exterior of the arena and in Kiener Plaza, the large outdoor gathering spot that proceeds down Market Street from the arena to the Gateway Arch.
The NHL's annual Fan Fest in conjunction with the game will be held in Union Station next door to the arena. It is one of the signature elements of the weekend and features interactive displays, photos with league trophies, autographs with NHL alumni and appearances capped by a ball hockey game between the league's 31 mascots.
Next: The Sabres returned home after the game and will practice Friday afternoon in KeyBank Center. They have an afternoon back-to-back this weekend, hosting Vancouver at 1 p.m. Saturday and traveling to meet Detroit at 5 p.m. Sunday. The Canucks had a seven-game winning streak snapped by a 9-2 beating Tuesday at Tampa Bay and followed that performance with a 5-2 loss Thursday in Florida.