The St. Louis Blues traded defenseman and captain Eric Brewer on Friday afternoon and proceeded to play one of their best games of the season hours later.
The Blues defeated the Buffalo Sabres 3-0 on Friday night and kept their noses in the playoff hunt for another day. The Blues sit seven points out of a spot and still have games at hand against all of the teams ahead of them.
The Sabres had a chance to pull into a tie for 8th in the Eastern Conference, but came out flat to start the game and could never really recover.
Both teams skated tentatively in the first, which lead to no score after the period and a total of 16 shots. The Blues came out fast in the 2nd period and didn’t look back.
Less then three minutes into the period, Andy McDonald carried the puck in before cycling it to TJ Oshie. Oshie slid the puck to Patrik Berglund below the goal line.
Berglund’s pass to McDonald in front of the net was blocked, but he got a second attempt and fed Oshie, who buried it past a surprised Ryan Miller.
The assist by Berglund extended his point streak to four games and McDonald’s assist was his seventh point in seven games since returning from injury.
After some back and forth chances by both teams, the Blues went on the power play when Mike Weber took a tripping penalty late in the period.
Halfway through the man advantage, Alex Pietrangelo fed a wide open David Backes, who rifled a shot past fellow Olympian Miller for the Blues second goal of the night.
Despite being outshot 11-7 in the period, the Blues took a 2-0 lead into the second intermission. The Blues are 16-3-1 when leading after the 2nd period.
Recently, the Blues haven’t played a full 60 minute game and have blown leads in the third period, but tonight, they locked down the defense and did not take a penalty.
Ty Conklin made the lead stand up by making some crucial saves in the third, including a crucial stop on Patrick Kaleta after Kaleta’s crushing hit on Carlo Colaiacovo shifted the momentum towards Buffalo.
Conklin improved to 7-1 against Buffalo in his career and improved on his .890 save percentage with his first shutout of the season.
Vladimir Sobotka added an empty netter and the loss was the third in a row for Ryan Miller. The Sabres fell to 2-2-1 in their last five games, while the Blues have earned points in six of the seven games since the All-Star Break.
3) Patrik Berglund: Assist, point streak extended
2) TJ Oshie: Goal and Assist
1) Ty Conklin: Shutout, 25 saves
Game Notes…Brewer was traded to Tampa Bay for Brock Beukeboom and a third round selection….St. Louis is 6-1-2 in Buffalo since 1997….Steve Montador returned after missing 5 games due to concussion-like symptoms….Colaiacovo did not return after being hit by Kaleta in the third….St. Louis battles Anaheim Saturday night, while Buffalo hosts Washington on Sunday afternoon.