The Blues were overwhelming favorites coming into this game, and for a good reason. The Sabres are not a good team. In the 16 games prior to tonight, the Sabres had 20 Goals and 356 Shots on Goal. They've allowed 54 goals and 599 SOG. That's a goal differential of -34 and a shot differential of -243.
So, if the Blues show up, and just simply take care of business, this should have been a easy 2 points. If the Blues played like they just needed to show up period ... well, we've seen that one before. No talent advantage is so great that the Blues couldn't squander it and shoot themselves in the foot.
Fortunately, the Blues were all about the TCB tonight.
The first period started sluggishly, and our worst fears were rising to the surface. Fortunately, Brian Elliott was equal to the task. He needed to be; despite gifting St Louis with 2 power plays, the Sabres were still out-shooting the Blues 15-10 in the first. The only shot that counted, though, was this beauty from Jori Lehtera on a slick drop pass from Vladimir Tarasenko. Even now, hours later, Michal Neuvirth is still wondering where the shot came from:
GIF: Lehtera goal for St. Louis http://t.co/lHqD8ltDwv— Steph (@myregularface) November 12, 2014
The second period picked up where the first left off. The Blues weren't dominating perhaps, at least not like you would have expected, but they certainly weren't behind the puck either. The Sabres were getting few chances, and they weren't getting anything past Elliott. Meanwhile, from the late first-period onward, the Blues were starting to get into their groove. Three minutes into the 2nd, the Blues top line struck again: Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz assisting on another goal for Jori Lehtera. Once again, a nice drop pass to set it up. Stop me if you've heard this one before:
GIF: Lehtera's second goal, again set up by nice Tarasenko drop pass http://t.co/ydBYgwBVFR— Steph (@myregularface) November 12, 2014
GIF: Lehtera and Tarasenko celebrate on the bench http://t.co/qPv9be3HB3— Steph (@myregularface) November 12, 2014
At the 13:11 mark of the 2nd, emotions boiled over and a line brawl sprung up. It started with Ian Cole committing the infraction of "playing defense" and finishing his check on Tyler Ennis. He fell down, and the Sabres felt the need to stick up for him. Everybody paired up and tussled, with only 2 real fights happening: Cole and Nikita Zadorov and also Alexander Steen with Tyler Ennis. This would be Steen's first career fight, I'm told. Cole ended up with the extra minor, roughing, despite no signal from the officials before the brawl kicked off.
Nonetheless, things returned back to normal. And by normal, I mean another goal by Lehtera. Yep, Jori Lehtera completed a natural hat trick by scoring his third shorthanded. And, as is tradition, it came from a gorgeous set up by Jaden Schwartz. Note the turnstile on the ice wearing a Tyler Myers jersey:
Finally, the 3rd period began. All St Louis needed to do was tighten up defensively and make sure Elliott's shutout stood up, and everybody at DrinkScotch could go home happy. Unfortunately, the Sabres weren't following that script. Just 17 seconds into the period, during a stoppage and line change, the Sabres
gooned ganged gooned up on Steen. The TV broadcast was in a commercial break at the time, but the replays didn't show Steen initiating the scrap. Nonetheless, Steen and Carl Gunnarsson ended up in the box, with Steen taking a double minor for roughing. During the ensuing power play, the Sabres scored on Elliott. Matt Moulson with the crossing pass to Tyler Ennis, who does know what to do with a largely empty net.
The game got increasingly chippy as the Sabres seemed more focused on punishing the Blues for ... being a better team? I don't know, but they sure seemed disinterested in the hockey part of hockey. Poor Ted Nolan .... his face is going to freeze in that "I'm too old for this shit" expression that he was wearing for the third period. More penalties were assessed, including one for Mike Weber for .... well ... attempted neck-snapping (aka "roughing").
Finally, the last came when Nicolas Deslauriers took a match penalty for spearing Vladimir Tarasenko. The Blues would spend the next 5 minutes on the power play. They took advantage of that opportunity, scoring 3 power play goals in 2 minutes. First, David Backes tipped in a Kevin Shattenkirk shot for a goal, and then Joakim Lindstrom potted two more soon afterward. The moral of the story here was : Play like dicks, get dick-slapped in the ensuing power play. And that's exactly what happened. Net result: Good Guys win 6-1
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Do you think these guys are having fun? <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/OurBlues?src=hash">#OurBlues</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/stlblues?src=hash">#stlblues</a> <a href="http://t.co/a0CrTVuXiD">pic.twitter.com/a0CrTVuXiD</a></p>— St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) <a href="https://twitter.com/StLouisBlues/status/532385329617981440">November 12, 2014</a></blockquote>
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