#52 Buffalo Sabresvs.#51 ST. Louis Blues
Saturday, February 2 2017, at 1:05pm EST
Written by David Hess
St Louis Blues (31-22-4-1 SU, 22-36 PL, 27-22-9 O/U) vs Buffalo Sabres (25-23-5-5 SU, 37-21 PL, 24-29-5 O/U)
When: 1:00 PM ET, Saturday, February 18, 2017
Where: KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York
Lines: St Louis -129/ Buffalo +109
NHL hockey action on Saturday afternoon and the St Louis Blues will wage war on the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York. The Blues enter this contest off a hard-fought 4-3 home win over Vancouver, while the Sabres come in off a 2-0 home win over the Avalanche. The Under is 3-0-1 the last four meetings between these teams here in Buffalo.
The St Louis Blues continue to roll as they have now won their last six games in a row, following a 4-3 home win over Vancouver on Thursday night. The game was a bit tougher than they were expecting, but still, they came out with the win and improved their home record to 18-13 on the year, while out on the road they have not been great at 13-14. Scoring in the win over the Canucks was Magnus Paajarvi, which was his 3rd of the year, Jori Lehtera, which was his 6th of the year, Vladimir Tarasenko, which was his team-leading 27th of the year and Alexander Steen, which was his 12th of the year. The Blues have now outscored their last six opponents by a count of 20-6 and they have three shutouts over that stretch of games.
Grabbing the win in the game was Jake Allen, who is now 21-17 with a 2.67 GAA on the year, including 8-9 with a 2.91 GAA on the road, while vs the Sabres in his career he has gone 4-0 with a 0.98 GAA. The Blues enter this game ranked 10th in the league in scoring at 2.86 gpg, while also ranking 29th in shots taken (27.5 spg) and 6th in power play conversions, converting on 22.0% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice they are ranked 23rd in goals allowed, giving up 2.88 gpg, while also ranking 4th in shots allowed (27.6) and 3rd in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 15.4% of their chances.
The Buffalo Sabres have not had a good year and they are in 6th place in the Atlantic Division, but still, they are just a few points behind Toronto for the 8th spot in the eastern Conference playoff standings. It would help if the could have many home games against Colorado down the stretch, but since that won’t happen, it means that they will come up just a bit short in their quest for a playoff spot. In their last game, they blanked the Avs at home by a score of 2-0 and having the solid night in the crease was Robin Lehner, who stopped all 23 shots that he faced to pick up his 2nd shutout of the year and the 5th of his career. Lehner is now 16-22 with a 2.49 GAA on the year, including 7-12 with a 2.30 GAA here at home, while vs the Blues in his career he has gone 3-2 with a 2.69 GAA.
Scoring in the win for the Sabres was Sam Reinhart, which was his 13th of the year and Evander Kane, which was his team-leading 19th of the year. The offense has been an issue for this team all year and they have now scored just 12 goals over their last five games. Buffalo enters this game ranked 25th in the league in scoring at 2.45 gpg, while also ranking 20th in shots taken (29.6 spg) and 1st in power play conversions, converting on 23.3% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice they have been average as they rank 14th in goals allowed, giving up 2.69 gpg, while also ranking 30th in shots allowed (34.1) and 29th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 25.7% of their chances.
St Louis is:
The Blues have really been playing well of late, but they will be taking on a buffalo team that has been known to pull some shockers just when you least expect it. This will not be one of those shockers. The Blues have won their last six games in a row and they have outscored their foes 20-6 over that stretch and they will be facing a Buffalo team this is having issues on offense this year. The Blues will be sending out Jake Allen, who is 4-0 with a 0.98 GAA in his career vs the Sabres, plus the Blues have won 19 of their last 21 games in this series, including 10-1 of their last 11 games here in Buffalo and for me that is the clincher. Take the Blues in this one.
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