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February 11, 2019 10:24PM
ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis Blues return from the Christmas break winners of four of their last six games.It is finally some traction for a team still seven points out of a playoff spot as the season nears the midway point.The Blues (14-16-4) hope to keep that momentum as they resume play by hosting the Buffalo Sabres (21-11-5) on Thursday night at Enterprise Center.Article continues below ...The game will be the first for Blues center Ryan O’Reilly against his former club since a trade brought him to St. Louis over the summer. O’Reilly’s 13 goals and 32 points lead the team.“We were in so many of these games John Hayden Jersey , had leads and lost them,” O’Reilly said last month according to Buffalonews.com. “We didn’t have the consistency in games. Bad period here, blow a lead, couple bad shifts there. It wasn’t the hockey we needed to win.”Forwards Ivan Barbashev and Oskar Sundqvist will also look to continue their strong play on the Blues’ fourth line. Either Barbashev or Sundqvist have scored in five of the last nine games for St. Louis.“We pop Barbashev and Sundqvist up and down the lineup a little bit in different matchups and things, penalty killing,” Blues interim coach Craig Berube told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “They’ve done a really good job. They’re scoring goals here and there, which is good. You need everybody to chip in in the goal department.”The duo has been productive despite limited minutes. Barbashev averages 11 minutes, 19 seconds of ice time Authentic Jonathan Toews Jersey , which ranks 21st on the team. Sundqvist is at 11:10, ranking 22nd.“Every single (shift) we just try to play really good defensively but at the same time we want to play in the (offensive) zone,” Barbashev told the Post-Dispatch. “Just play a simple game, you know. Keep the puck. Get some energy. Sometimes maybe even try and score a goal.”The Blues have dominated the Sabres for the better part of two decades. Since 1999, St. Louis has a 17-3-4 record against Buffalo, including 9-1-2 in the last 12 meetings.The Sabres haven’t beaten the Blues in St. Louis since Dec. 27, 2009.Perhaps the key to the Sabres’ success would be extending the game. More than one-third of the team’s games have gone to overtime or a shootout and Buffalo has an 8-5 record in those situations.“I love overtime. I’m always looking to score,” Sabres defenseman Ramsus Ristolainen told Buffalonews.com. “There’s a lot of room and you have a chance to make big plays for your team.”The Sabres entered the break off of a 3-0 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday.Left winger Jeff Skinner scored his team-leading 26th goal of the season and Linus Ullmark made 40 saves to earn the shutout.“It’s an emotional game Custom Minnesota Wild Jerseys ,” Skinner told NHL.com. “Some games that’s just the way it goes. A little bit of a feisty game, I guess, at the end of some of the periods but I thought we did a good job sticking together.” NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Auston Matthews didn’t look rusty in his return from a monthlong layoff.Matthews had a goal in his first game back from a shoulder injury that sidelined him for 10 games and the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Nashville Predators 5-2 on Thursday night.”I felt fine out there,” Matthews said. ”I got engaged early, got the puck, able to make a couple of plays and that kind of builds your confidence for the rest of the game.”The Predators had been 14-0-1 since their previous regulation loss on Feb. 17.”One team was fast, the other team wasn’t fast Patrick Kane Jersey ,” Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. ”To me, that’s where you get lopsided. The ice seems to tilt one way and we’ve done that, too. We were off the mark with regard to that tonight and we’ll look to fix it and be better.”James van Riemsdyk and Mitchell Marner each had a goal and an assist, and William Nylander and Jake Gardiner also scored for Toronto, which has won five of six.Morgan Rielly had three assists for the Maple Leafs, and Tyler Bozak had two. Frederik Andersen stopped 23 shots.Viktor Arvidsson and Scott Hartnell scored for Nashville. Pekka Rinne had 23 saves.Van Riemsdyk scored on a power play 4:03 into the first period off a pass from Marner. Van Riemsdyk tried to pass between his skates, but the puck deflected off defenseman Roman Josi’s stick and past Rinne. It was van Riemsdyk’s team-leading 11th power-play goal.Arvidsson tied it with a power-play goal 5:42 into the second before Matthews and Nylander scored 1:38 apart late in the period to make it 3-1.”The first night, you always have energy www.montrealcanadiensteamshops.com , it’s now what’s going to come?” Toronto coach Mike Babcock said of Matthews. ”The good thing about it is he has been able to skate. His linemates were really good tonight and that helped him as well.”Marner’s power-play goal at nine seconds of the third made it 4-1. Toronto has scored at least one goal with the man advantage in seven straight games.”Obviously, starting on the power play, it’s an advantage so we wanted to make sure right away we tried to make the most of it,” Marner said. ”Lucky enough, we did.”Gardiner’s slap shot from the left side gave Toronto a 5-1 lead at 3:39 of the third.One Predator thought they were due for a letdown.”I think we deserved every second of that,” defenseman Ryan Ellis said. ”Good team came in here and played a lot better than us. I think you look at this stretch we’ve had of (15) games with points, we’ve been squeaking out wins. We’ve been finding ways to win. But that’s not playoff hockey.”Hartnell scored his 13th of the season at 15:37.NOTES: U.S. Olympic women’s hockey gold medalists Monique Lamoureux-Morando and Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson attended the game. … Nashville C Kyle Turris played his 600th NHL game. … Van Riemsdyk has eight goals in his last five games. … Toronto is 19-8-2 against the Western Conference this season. … Marner extended his point streak to seven games.UP NEXTMaple Leafs: Host Detroit Saturday.Predators: At Minnesota Saturday.—
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