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St. Louis Gives Sabres the Blues

Saturday, 12.23.2006 / 12:00 AM / News
Buffalo Sabres | Press Release
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St. Louis Gives Sabres the Blues
If you had looked at the standings before Buffalo's game against St. Louis, one would think that it would be a walk in the park for a Sabres team that had entered the game second in the league in points (25-7-2 52 points).


The Blues on the other hand entered the game with Buffalo with the second worst record in the league (9-19-6 24 points). Add to the fact that Buffalo had just come off a convincing 7-2 victory over the Central Division leading Nashville Predators on Thursday, and one would expect another Sabres victory.

Give credit where credit is due as the scrappy Blues put it all on the line against the Sabres. They came out 3-2 victors when Bill Guerin beat Martin Biron above his glove 1:35 into overtime on a 2-on-1 break.


"If you look at it, they have four straight games with points going into tonight," said Head Coach Lindy Ruff. "I said before the game that they're not playing like a last place team. They're working hard."


"They have really turned it around since Andy Murray took over the team," said goaltender Martin Biron.


The Blues out skated the Sabres for the most part of the night. They played a defensive minded game and put constant pressure on the Sabres in every zone. That style seemed to frustrate the Sabres as the pressure led to seven takeaways for the Blues.


"St. Louis didn't give us much room out there," said forward Jochen Hecht. "Most of the time they had four guys across the blue line."


"They're playing a pretty tough system through the neutral zone," said Ruff. "They're not giving you opportunities. The ones you get you have to generate."


Doug Weight caused the final takeaway of the night in the neutral zone. It led to Guerin's game-winner. Buffalo falls to 25-7-3 on the season with the loss.


St. Louis forward Ryan Johnson gave the Blues the early lead 5:31 into the game as he netted his fourth of the season. Just in front of the Buffalo net, Johnson deflected Christian Backman's shot from the high slot above Biron's right shoulder.


Starting in goal for the second game in a row, Biron was stellar in the loss as he stopped 29 of 32 Saint Louis shots. Two of those allowed goals came on deflections.


One of Biron's best saves came with 14:06 gone in the first period. Already down 1-0, the Blues forced a turnover in the Buffalo zone and had a 2-on-1 break. Biron was up to the challenge and made the glove save with ease on Dan Hinote's shot from the slot.


Hecht tied the game for Buffalo just 1:20 into the second period with his ninth of the season. Trailing Daniel Briere on a 3-on-2 break, Hecht received the pass and buried the puck into the back of the net just above Manny Legace's right shoulder.


Located outside the left part of the crease, Jason Pominville gave Buffalo the 2-1 lead at 16:38 of the second period with his 16th of the season. The forward popped the puck over the right pad of a downed Legace who was fooled by Briere's centering pass.


The Sabres had a goal disallowed early in the third period which would have given them a 3-1 lead. Pominville streaked up the right side on the transition and threw the puck toward the net to Hecht who was camped in the crease. After review, it was determined that Hecht kicked the puck into the net.


"That goal that was disallowed was just bad luck for us," said Biron. "That would have been big if we would have been up 3-1 halfway through the third."


The Blues tied the game 9:28 into the third period as Guerin was set up in front of the net and deflected Jay McClement's shot from the point just between Biron's side and glove hand for his 14th of the season.


Guerin scored the game winner for his second of the night and 15th of the season 1:35 into overtime.
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Quotes courtesy of WGR 550-AM, the official radio partner of the Buffalo Sabres.

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