Skinner scores 2; Sabres win 6-2, to snap Blues’ 7-game roll
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Jeff Skinner scored twice, with his second capping a three-goal, second-period outburst, and the Buffalo Sabres defeated St. Louis 6-2 Wednesday night, snapping the Blues’ seven-game winning streak.
Buffalo followed a 7-2 victory at Montreal on Tuesday to win two straight after ending an eight-game skid.
Minor-league callup Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen stopped 34 shots for his fourth career NHL win, and first since Dec. 16. Getting his second start since Eric Comrie sustained a lower-body injury, Luukkonen’s best save came with 4:24 left, when he kicked out his right pad to stop Vladimir Tarasenko set up on the doorstep.
Rookie Jack Quinn capped the win with two third-period goals, and Victor Olofsson and Dylan Cozens also scored.
Pavel Buchnevich and Brayden Schenn scored for the Blues, and Jordan Kyrou had an assist to extend his points streak to six games (two goals, nine points).
Jordan Binnington stopped 25 shots in his first loss in seven starts, and was denied in his bid to win his 100th career game.
With St. Louis trailing 4-1, Buchnevich scored a second time 6:11 into the the third period, but the goal was disallowed after the Sabres challenged the play for being offside. Replays showed Tarasenko losing possession just before he entered Buffalo’s zone a step ahead of the puck.
The Blues’ seven-game winning streak followed an eight-game skid, with their last loss a 5-1 defeat at Philadelphia on Nov. 8.
A day after Buffalo scored three times in the first 2:13 at Montreal, Skinner opened the scoring 18 seconds into the game. Collecting a pass at the end boards to the left of the Blues net, Skinner stepped toward the circle and lifted a shot in off the crossbar in beating Binnington on the short side.
The Sabres then responded with three goals over a 11-minute span in the second period, and after Buchnevich tied the game with a power-play goal 53 seconds into the frame.
Skinner capped the surge by driving in from the left boards, stick-handling the puck through this legs to avoid Justin Falk, and then going against the grain by back-handing in a shot inside the left post.
Sabres forward Tage Thompson, who has blossomed into Buffalo’s top offensive threat since being acquired in the trade that sent Ryan O’Reilly to St. Louis in July 2019, was denied on two highlight-reel chances.
Driving to the net, he fooled the defender and drew Binnington out of position by faking outside before cutting in, and was facing a wide-open net, only to have his shot hit the post. The puck caromed back to Thompson, and his follow-up shot was blocked by the stick of Blues defenseman Calle Rosen 6:20 into the game.
The Sabres brought back their red and black so-called “goat head” jersey and logo. Though the logo is actually that of a buffalo, it could be confused in resembling a goat. This was designated as the Sabres third jersey, which they will wear for 12 home games.
The Sabres wore the “goat head” from 1996 to 2006, a stretch which included their run to the Stanley Cup Final in 1999, which Buffalo lost in six games to Dallas, and Buffalo losing the 2006 Eastern Conference final to Carolina in seven games.
“I think it’s probably a jersey to some, everybody outside of Buffalo,” Sabres coach Don Granato said. “But I think the people in Buffalo, it’s much more than a jersey. It’s an era. It’s a pretty, pretty cool era.”
Blues: At the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday.
Sabres: Host the New Jersey Devils on Friday.
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