Blues 4, Sabres 2
Jaroslav Halak wasn't perfect, and he didn't have to be for the St. Louis Blues to win again.
The St. Louis goalie, who had recorded consecutive shutouts, gave up a goal after 164 minutes, 38 seconds, but he made 19 saves in the Blues' 4-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night.
David Backes provided the bulk of the offense with two goals and two assists for the surging Blues.
''We can't win every game 1-0,'' Backes said. ''Our goaltending has been phenomenal. When they only let in one or two goals, we have to make sure we have the offensive firepower to reward them.''
The Blues are 8-0-1 in January, earning 17 of 18 points, and Halak is 11-0-3 in his past 14 starts.
He was happy to have some help Saturday.
''Wasn't pretty, but we got it done and we got two points,'' Halak said. ''Sometimes I need to make big saves, but tonight, guys scored huge goals for me. That's why we got a win.''
St. Louis is an NHL-best 21-3-3 at home and has 64 points overall, one fewer than Western Conference-leading Detroit.
Buffalo, which dropped its 12th straight on the road and fifth in a row overall, is 2-7-1 in January.
''I'll take full responsibility,'' Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. ''It's not acceptable.''
B.J. Crombeen and David Perron also scored for the Blues, and Alex Pietrangelo and T.J. Oshie each added two assists for St. Louis.
Oshie has enjoyed playing on a line with Backes and Perron.
''We have some chemistry out there,'' Oshie said. ''It's obviously a lot of fun playing with those guys.''
Ryan Miller made 23 saves for Buffalo, which got goals from Mike Weber and Tyler Myers.
Halak was coming off back-to-back shutouts, but his hopes for a third were dashed early when Weber scored his first goal since March 12, just 3:47 in.
Weber's goal from the left circle snapped Halak's shutout streak, but that was all Halak allowed until one minute remained in the game.
Crombeen tied it 1-1 at 7:45 of the second period when he beat Miller with a wrist shot from the right circle for his first goal since March 30. Perron put the Blues on top 5:28 later when he deflected home Oshie's shot from the left circle.
''It kind of got away from us in the second period,'' Miller said. ''We didn't do some of the things we needed to do. It turned into a period that gave them back the edge.''
Backes made it 3-1 with a power-play goal at 11:35 of the third period. After Myers scored a power-play goal with 1 minute left to cut it to 3-2, Backes sealed the win with an empty-net goal with 34.9 seconds left.
NOTES: Pietrangelo extended his career-best point streak to nine games. ... The Sabres have not won a road game since winning at Nashville on Dec. 3. ... Buffalo has been outscored 50-17 during its road skid. ... St. Louis has scored just six goals in its last three games, all wins. The Blues have allowed just two goals in that span. ... The Sabres hadn't played at St. Louis since Dec. 27, 2009.