(HockeyStL) -- With only seven games left and the Boston Bruins one point ahead of the St. Louis Blues in the race for the President’s Trophy, the Note needed a win against the struggling Buffalo Sabres.
The Blues got the win, beating the Sabres 2-1, and setting a franchise record of 52 wins in a season.
Neither team would score until the first two minutes of the second period when Blues fourth-liner Ryan Reaves fed a pass across to Maxim Lapierre, his 8th of the season. The Blues would score again, with less than two minutes left in the third period, as Brendan Morrow worked to clean up in front of Sabres goaltender Nathan Lieuwen.
Morrow’s 13th goal of the season would prove to be an important insurance goal after the Sabres Cody Hodgson snuck a power play goal past Brian Elliot less than a minute after Morrow’s goal. That goal snapped Elliot’s 168:33 shutout streak.
“It’s a trap game for us,” said Head Coach Ken Hitchcock, “This is when you need your goalie. I’ve known Brian for three years and this is the best I’ve ever seen him play.”
The Sabres then pulled Lieuwen again for the extra attacker. With ten second left, TJ Oshie showed off his athleticism by laying out to jam the puck out of Blues defensive zone, eliminating the Sabres threat to send the game into overtime.
Hitchcock continued to praise Elliot after the game, comparing him to the superb play of Ryan Miller.
“[Elliot]’s a great example of what happens when you work, compete, focus and value every day,” Hitchcock said, “He looks like Ryan. It’s a great feeling to have a one-two punch.”
The Blues improved to 52-17-7 and 111 points to keep the lead in the Central Division. The Bruins lost in overtime to the Maple Leafs, so both teams are tied atop the President’s Trophy race. The Blues are also 3 points away from tying the 1999-2000 Blues team for the most amount of points in franchise history, that team also won the President’s Trophy, but was knocked out in the first round.
Hitchcock, unsurprisingly, isn’t impressed with the 52 wins compared to the ‘99-‘00 team.
“It’s a nice record, but it’s an improper evaluation,” said Hitchcock, “I don’t think it’s fair to that group that got the 51 wins, because I know about that group. They were not fun to play against.”
The Colorado Avalanche visit Scottrade Saturday
Notes: In his first game against his former team, Steve Ott recorded 16:14 of ice time and registered one shot.