Preview: Sabres at Blues
The St. Louis Blues have bolstered their bid toward repeating as Stanley Cup champions with their sizzling play at home. The Blues bid to record their seventh straight victory in the Gateway City on Thursday when they play the second contest in a season-high five-game homestand against the Buffalo Sabres.
"We did enough. ... After the trip, the travel and all that stuff that happened the last week, it's certainly nice," St. Louis' David Perron said after he scored for the second time in as many games in Tuesday's 3-2 win over San Jose. The 31-year-old, who leads the team in goals (18) and points (44), also set up captain Alex Pietrangelo's goal in the Blues' 5-2 setback in Buffalo on Dec. 10. Sabres captain Jack Eichel tallied twice in that contest as part of his career-high 17-game point streak and carries a four-game run (two goals, two assists) into Thursday's contest. The former Hobey Baker winner, who leads the team in goals (26), assists (29) and points (55), will need to shoulder the load even more in the wake of promising rookie forward Victor Olofsson (16 goals, 35 points) being sidelined five-to-six weeks with a lower-body injury.
TIME: 8 p.m. ET. TV: Sportsnet1, Sportsnet East, Sportsnet Ontario, MSG-B, FS Midwest
ABOUT THE SABRES (19-17-7): Michael Frolik answered an admittedly quick skate on Tuesday with a longer session the following day and is expected to make his debut with his new team against St. Louis. "The important thing when you integrate somebody like that is you want him, like everybody else, to actually just play free and play naturally within the principles," coach Ralph Krueger said of the 31-year-old Frolik, who was acquired from Calgary last week. "So, we have to be patient on him automating those principles and we're not going to overload him here." Frolik skated on a line with Marcus Johansson, who has one goal and five assists in his last four games.
ABOUT THE BLUES (27-10-7): St. Louis boasts considerable depth along the back line, an enviable trait that allows coach Craig Berube's club to withstand the two-game absence of Colton Parayko (upper body). The 6-foot-6, 226-pound Parayko is considered day-to-day by Berube while fellow defenseman Carl Gunnarson (arm) could be available to face the Sabres as well. Jordan Binnington turned aside 27 shots versus the Sharks and carries a sparkling 13-3-3 home record with a 2.18 goals-against average and .925 save percentage into Thursday's tilt.
1. Buffalo D Jake McCabe was ruled out of Thursday's game with an upper-body injury.
2. St. Louis is just 7-6-3 against Eastern Conference foes, as opposed to 20-4-4 versus the West.
3. Sabres C Sam Reinhart, who has two goals and two assists in his last four games, had one of each in the first meeting with the Blues.
PREDICTION: Blues 4, Sabres 1