Sabres 5, Blues 3
Tim Connolly finished off the St. Louis Blues after Mike Grier’s
fortunate bounce got the Buffalo Sabres going in the third
Grier’s tip-in somehow squirted through for the tying goal early
in the third, and Connolly scored the winner on a power play and
iced it with a short-handed goal in Buffalo’s 5-3 victory over the
Blues on Sunday night.
Grier and Connolly, who each had two goals and an assist. helped
the Sabres win for only the third time (3-11-0) this season when
trailing after two periods.
Jochen Hecht added a goal for the Sabres, down 3-2 after two
periods. Tim Kennedy, Jason Pominville and St. Louis product Chris
Butler each had two assists as the Sabres rebounded from a shootout
loss Saturday against Ottawa.
“We didn’t play well (Saturday) night,” Grier said. “I think
we all kind of felt anxious coming into the game tonight and the
guys battled. I think it took us a while to find our legs, but we
battled and hung in there.”
Alex Steen scored twice, and Eric Brewer added a goal for St.
The Blues have dropped two straight after winning three in a
row. They fell to 6-12-2 on home ice after losing for only the
second time in regulation (12-2-3) when leading after two
“We came out with the mindset of pushing the shot clock and
getting pucks to the net, playing in the offensive zone,” Blues
coach Andy Murray said. “They took advantage of their
opportunities. … Tough to lose.”
Connolly’s power-play goal gave the Sabres a 4-3 lead 7:22 into
the final period. He redirected Butler’s feed past Ty Conklin.
“We were able to move the puck and get a wrist shot through,”
Connolly said. “I was able to get a piece of it and fortunately,
it went into the net.”
Blues defenseman Erik Johnson was off for holding, a penalty
Murray didn’t seem pleased to give up.
“We took a tough penalty, gave up a power-play goal,” Murray
said. “It went by two guys, a shot from the point. … I have seen
the penalty. We need to kill a penalty and we need to score a power
play goal, and we didn’t.”
Connolly iced the game, backhanding home a short-handed goal
with 3:14 remaining after getting a feed from Grier.
“Grier beat the guy, spun out and made a great backhand pass to
me,” Connolly said. “I was able to get in there and get a break
and get it up over (Conklin’s glove).”
Buffalo’s fifth goal came seconds after the Blues’ Brad Boyes
had the tying goal on his stick, but the puck was on him quickly
and he missed out on knocking in a rebound.
“It came out quick,” Boyes said. “I’m trying to get what I
can on it. I don’t know if I’m too tight there or what, but
(Saturday) night in Minnesota was kind of the same thing. A rebound
comes out and it goes right by me. It happens real quick, but
somehow, you’ve got to get something on it.”
Grier picked up his second of the game after a redirection of
Kennedy’s pass that Conklin appeared to have covered up. However,
the puck somehow squirted through 3:15 into the third period to tie
it at 3-3.
Conklin said that he put it in himself.
“I went to close my legs to cover the puck and it hit the
inside of my knees and just squirted in,” Conklin said. “It’s
just a fluky goal.
“I knew exactly where it was. I was looking at it. I just went
to close my legs. … That probably won’t happen again in two
years. It was a fluky goal, but it sets a bad tone for the third
Steen opened the scoring for the Blues at 10:12 of the first
period. He intercepted Craig Rivet’s pass along the right boards,
skated into the right circle and beat former Blues goalie Patrik
Lalime high to the stick side.
The Sabres countered and got the equalizer when Hecht skated
around the goal and whipped a low shot past Conklin at 15:52 of the
The Sabres grabbed a 2-1 lead when Grier got a cross-ice feed
from Kennedy and beat Conklin 7:47 into the second period. The
Blues regained the lead on Brewer’s 50th career goal, and Steen’s
second of the game.
NOTES: Buffalo’s last win in St. Louis came on Oct. 1, 1997, a
3-1 victory. … Sabres C Derek Roy (upper body) missed a game for
the first time this season. He is listed as day-to-day. Defensemen
Patrick Kaleta (neck) and Butler (ankle) returned to the lineup.
… St. Louis’ Keith Tkachuk has 27 points in 24 career games
against the Sabres. … The Blues had a streak of 21 consecutive
penalty kills snapped on Connolly’s third-period goal. …
Pominville played in his 289th consecutive game. … Blues LW Paul
Kariya (upper-body injury) left after the first period and did not
return. He was injured following an elbowing penalty by Kaleta late
in the first.