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Up All Night: Blues at Buffalo Sabres Preview

The hottest team in hockey travels to their polar opposite in chilly Buffalo

"Just The Tip"
"Just The Tip"
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The St Louis Blues are absolutely the hottest team in hockey right now; 11-0-1 in their last 12 games. The last time the Blues lost in regulation, you were still hungover from New Years (01/02 against Anaheim). The Blues have earned at least 1 point in 12 straight games on 3 occasions, most recently in the 2000-2001 season. Even 1 point tonight would set a franchise record. More than this, the fact that we've continued on this streak during a long layover for the All Star break and through some serious injuries says a lot about the growth of the team. It's not a done deal yet, but it's certainly safe to say things are looking good. The boys are confident (perhaps too much so) that, whatever Hockey throws at them, they can handle.

That sits in stark contrast with tonight's opponent.

The Buffalo Sabres have the worst record in all of the NHL, and have seemingly joined their fans in embracing the tank job. With a record of 15-33-3, the Sabres are apparently aiming to win the Connor McDavid sweepstakes. The Sabres went the entire month of January without earning a single point in the standings. Of the 15 wins that they do have, only 9 of them were in regulation or overtime. A win in their last game in Montreal broke a 14-game franchise-record losing streak. The Sabres have allowed 84 more goals than they've scored, worst in the NHL. Right now, the players are having a rough time even coming in to work each day. Even little things become gigantic in light of that kind of frustration.

it's going to be interesting to see how these two teams mix tonight.

You might recall the last time these two teams met, in St Louis. It became strangely chippy and physical - considering that we were playing an Eastern Conference opponent. Witnessing something similar happening in the recent game against the Washington Capitals, I wouldn't be shocked if some rough stuff happened tonight also. With St Louis already leading 3-1 in that first meeting, a Sabres player couldn't contain their idiocy and ended up giving St Louis a 5-minute major power play. We ended up scoring 3 goals on that power play, capping a 6-1 rout of the Buffalo squad. Jori Lehtera had a hat trick, and Joakim Lindstrom scored 2 of the power play tallies.

Do you think the Sabres remember that game?

I'm sure they do, and there'll be plenty of folks to remind them along the way. There's the familiar faces of Tyson Strachan and Chris Stewart ; it'll be interesting to see those guys again. Additionally, the leading scorers on this team will still have some pride to work from. If the Blues fall asleep on the switch, the Sabres can strike. The team leader in goals is Latvia hearthrob Zemgus Girgensons . His 13 goals (11 assists) is ahead of anyone else on the team. That same total would put him in 10th place on the Blues. Overall points leader is Tyler Ennis, with 12 goals and 18 assists. Those 2 are the only players on the Buffalo side that has 10 or more goals.

This is a classic trap game, and it'll be a challenge for the coaches and the team leadership to keep the boys focused on tonight's opponent. If the Blues don't shoot themselves in the foot, the game is theirs for the taking. They will just need to take it one thing at a time, and not get ahead of themselves.

Further Reading:

Die By The Blade

Blues vs Sabres coverage

GameDay Twitter Feed

Final Verse: Early starts again, back in the Eastern Conference. The puck drops 6:00 PM St Louis time, and the GameDay Thread will drop shortly before that. The TV broadcast is on FoxSports MidWest, and the radio call will be on KMOX 1120. Drop on by and watch the game with us, won't you? Bring beer.

Here's a reminder of how the last game played out: