ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis Blues needed strong special teams, a stout effort from Jake Allen and a slick move from Alexander Steen to pull out a win Thursday night.
The Blues managed a pair of power-play goals, killed off two 5-on-3 penalty situations, got 32 saves from Allen and won when Steen scored the only goal in a shootout for a 3-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres.
"It was special teams and goaltender that won the game for us," coach Ken Hitchcock said. "Penalty killing was outstanding. Power play, we scored early in the 5-minute power play … and then had a great power-play goal in the second period. The guys that killed penalties, especially those guys that were out there on the 5-on-3, did an outstanding job."
St. Louis has won seven straight and 17 of its last 19 against Buffalo since 1999.
Kevin Shattenkirk and Vladimir Tarasenko scored in regulation for the Blues (13-6-1), who had lost three of four. Allen stopped four shots in the 3-on-3 overtime period and all three shootout attempts.
Steen scored in the third round of the shootout, after Shattenkirk and Tarasenko were denied. The goal was reviewed but it held up.
"I felt like he was coming so far out on Shatty and (Tarasenko) that if I make a quick move and beat him to the post, without getting it up, I thought I’d beat him," Steen said. "He was quick. He got back in a hurry. I was fortunate, it just squeaked over the line."
Sam Reinhart and Ryan O’Reilly scored for the Sabres (8-9-2), who have lost three straight after a stretch of five wins in six games. Linus Ullmark stopped 27 shots, including three in overtime.
"We were plus-2 on the 5-on-5 tonight," coach Dan Bylsma said. "I thought the special teams pretty much dictated the whole game right from the beginning with the major penalty that we took. We obviously had the two 5-on-3 situations at the end of the second and in the third period, but 5-on-5 we’re playing a tough team, a hard place to play, a hard place to get points and I thought we battled them pretty good minus the special teams."
The Blues scored first after Tyler Ennis went to the penalty box for 5 minutes for boarding Alex Pietrangelo.
Shattenkirk took advantage 5:34 into the first period with his second goal in two games, assisted by Steen and Tarasenko, on a top-shelf drive past Ullmark, who was screened by David Backes.
"We went out there tonight more with the mentality that we were going out there to score a goal and give our team an advantage, and we did it tonight," Shattenkirk said.
The Sabres tied it 1:31 into the second period when Reinhart scored on a rebound after Allen blocked a shot from Rasmus Ristolainen.
St. Louis took advantage of another power play a few minutes later when Tarasenko scored on a wrister from the slot, assisted by Backes and Jori Lehtera, for his 12th of the season at 4:28.
O’Reilly tied the score again with 8:04 left in the second period with his third goal in three games, on a wide-open shot from the slot after a nice feed from Brian Gionta.
The Blues killed a 5-on-3 penalty for 49 seconds late in the second period and then another one for 1:47 midway through the third, which included Allen making a diving save against O’Reilly. The Sabres outshot the Blues 13-10 in the third period, but neither team scored.
Tarasenko hit the left post on a breakaway with 1:38 left in overtime.
NOTES: Evander Kane returned to the Sabres’ lineup after missing 10 games with a sprained knee ligament. He was expected to miss four to six weeks. … Blues forward Steve Ott returned after sitting out six games with an upper-body injury. … Blues D Colton Parayko missed his second straight game with a lower-body injury.