St. Louis - November 11, 2014 -
Who: St. Louis Blues
Where: Scottrade Center, St. Louis, MO
Know thine enemy: After a rough start, the Blues have rebounded nicely and are now at 9-4-1 on the year, having had their seven-game winning streak snapped with a 2-1 loss to the Nashville Predators on Saturday.
Leading the way is budding star winger Vladimir Tarasenko. He leads the team with nine goals and 17 points through the first 14 games and has come up with a few highlight-reel goals in the last few games. He’s starting to make use of all the talent that made him a promising prospect and he’s taking the Blues on his back.
On the back end of things, Brian Elliott and Jake Allen have filled the goaltending role well. Elliott is 5-3-1, but has a 2.06 goals against average and .923 save percentage while Allen’s 4-1-0 record is backed up with a fantastic 1.40 goals against average and .944 save percentage.
In the hyper-tough Western Conference, the Blues are starting to find their footing an assert themselves in the very tough Central Division, trailing the Predators by one point for the division lead.
About the Sabres: The weekend was ugly for the Sabres. They were beaten late by the Edmonton Oilers on Friday, but gave up 50-plus shots in the process and then were bombed by the Metropolitan-leading Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday to the tune of 6-1.
The offense continues to be non-existent except for when Drew Stafford scores, which is a sad state of affairs for multiple reasons. They’ve scored two or fewer goals in 15 of 16 games this season and are tied with the Florida Panthers for the fewest goals in the league with 20 despite the fact that the Panthers have played four fewer games.
On the back end, Nikita Zadorov is finally getting a chance to show what he can do after sitting in the press box to start the season. Coach Ted Nolan had said that Zadorov was out of shape when he got to camp and that he was trying to make Zadorov angry by benching him. It remains to be seen how he’ll perform or whether the Sabres will keep him in the lineup or send him down.
In net, my condolences go out to whoever has to start. Playing the way the goalies have this year, they deserve far better than the support they’ve been getting.
The part where I predict things: DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM.
Oh, you’d like more than that? Well let’s see: the Blues are a deep, tough, talented team being led by a studly young winger and they have a shutdown tandem in net. The Sabres, meanwhile, have a whole heap of nothing and can’t score if their lives actually depended on it. Seriously, if you put a gun to the head of each Sabre and told them to score, this team would be Drew Stafford, Tyler Ennis, Zemgus Girgensons and a pile of bodies. It’s going to be ugly from start to finish for the Sabres.
Score: 4-1 Blues
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