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Blues suffer third consecutive regulation loss, 5-2 to Sabres

Jim Thomas, St. Louis Post-Dispatch on

Published in Hockey

For those wondering when the defending Stanley Cup champions would hit a lull, here it is.

A 5-2 loss at KeyBank Center Tuesday in Buffalo, N.Y., extended the Blues' losing streak to three straight games in regulation. The Blues (18-8-6) haven't lost three in a row in regulation since November of 2018 -- a stretch that included Mike Yeo's last two games as Blues coach and Craig Berube's first game as interim coach.

Alex Pietrangelo's 100th career goal tied the game at 2 less than four minutes into the third period. Only Al MacInnis (127) has more among Blues defensemen in franchise history.

Pietrangelo's seventh goal of the season came after a nifty seam pass by David Perron.

But less than two minutes later, Jake Eichel gave Buffalo a 3-2 lead on a peculiar-looking play. Eichel was behind the Blues' net on the play, covered by Robert Thomas. But Thomas dropped off Eichel, towards the slot.

That left no one on Eichel, one of the most dangerous scorers in the league. Left undefended, Eichel quickly skated to the front of the net where it was only him and Allen. His 19th goal of the season, at the 5:46 mark, proved to be the game-winner for Buffalo (15-11-6). It extended Eichel's point streak to 14 games.

Buffalo later added two empty-net goals in the final 51 seconds.

The Blues outplayed Buffalo for much of the second period. They hit two posts and a crossbar. At one point in period, they had outshot the Sabres 10-2. But the Sabres had the only goal in the period, and it came with just nine seconds left in the period.

A puck off the end boards bounced right to Johan Larsson, who had a relatively open net for his fourth goal of the season. Buffalo regained the momentum over the final five minutes of the period, getting the final eight shots on goal with the aid of a power play following a tripping call against Robert Bortuzzo.

 

In Austin Poganski's first NHL game, and Jordan Kyrou's first Blues game of the season, veteran Troy Brouwer scored his first goal of the season, giving St. Louis a 1-1 tie after one period.

The Blues fell behind 1-0 just 18 seconds in when a Buffalo shot deflected in off the left skate of David Perron in front of the net and past Jake Allen in goal. The goal was originally credited to Victor Olofsson but later changed to Sam Reinhart.

It was the third goal scored by a Blues' opponent in the opening minute of play this season, and the earliest goal scored against the Blues this season.

Brouwer's goal came at the 3:37 mark on a quick flick of the wrist. He was skating down the slot uncovered when he was fed from behind the goal line from Ivan Barbashev. It was the 182nd career goal by Brouwer, 36, who's in his 14th NHL season. It was his first goal since April 1 of last season when as a member of the Florida Panthers he scored against Washington.

Each team had a power-play opportunity but in both cases were unsuccessful. For the Blues it made it 10 consecutive power plays without a goal -- a season-high drought.

(c)2019 St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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