Ennis scores 10 seconds in, but Buffalo can't score again
The Associated Press The Associated Press
BUFFALO — Brenden Morrow scored twice and the St. Louis Blues continued their mastery of the Buffalo Sabres with a 4-1 win Tuesday night.
Vladimir Tarasenko and Magnus Paajarvi also scored and Jaroslav Halak made 23 saves for the Blues, who have won 13 of 15 games against Buffalo since 1999.
Tyler Ennis scored the Sabres' goal just 10 seconds into the game, as Buffalo lost at home after consecutive home wins last week.
The Blues' league-best power play stayed productive, scoring in their fourth straight game. It's a stretch that's seen the Blues go 6 of 17 with the man advantage.
St. Louis is 8-1 in its past nine trips to Buffalo. The Blues improved to 7-2 against Eastern Conference teams, outscoring opponents 31-17.
Though the Blues outshot the Sabres 31-24, they got off to a slow start.
After a dump into the Blues zone off the opening faceoff, Ville Leino stripped the puck from Jay Bouwmeester below the left faceoff circle and found Ennis, who beat Halak with a low shot to give the Sabres an early lead.
It took less than a minute for the Blues to tie it, as Morrow pounced on a rebound and beat Ryan Miller at 1:09 of the first.
Tarasenko scored a power-play goal with 36 seconds to play in the first period on a pass from T.J. Oshie, who collected his own blocked shot.
Buffalo has been outscored 31-4 in the first period this season.
Morrow's second of the game came when Cody McCormick lost the puck behind the Buffalo net. Chris Stewart picked up the puck and passed to Morrow, who had raced into the high slot for a one-timer.
It was Morrow's first multi-goal game since April 17, when he scored twice against Montreal. Stewart had two assists.
Paajarvi added his first goal for the Blues when he beat Miller below his blocker with just over six minutes played in the third.
St. Louis' top-ranked road penalty kill stopped both of Buffalo's power plays.
Defenseman Mike Weber returned to the Sabres' lineup after missing 10 games with a hand injury suffered Oct. 25 against Florida.
Sabres shake up roster
BUFFALO — The Buffalo Sabres have put their youth movement on hold a week after Pat LaFontaine took over.
LaFontaine, the team's new president of hockey operations, announced a significant roster shuffle on Tuesday, when the Sabres demoted four rookies before their home game against St. Louis.
Veteran defenseman Mike Weber also was activated from injured reserve after missing 10 games with a thumb injury and is expected to play against the Blues.
Defenseman Nikita Zadorov was returned to his Canadian Junior team, the Ontario Hockey League London Knights. The move was made before Zadorov played his 10th NHL game, which is when his three-year contract would come into effect. Drafted 16th overall in June, Zadorov had a goal in seven games in Buffalo.
Fellow 2013 first-round pick, defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen, and forward Johan Larsson were assigned to the Sabres' AHL affiliate in Rochester, N.Y.
Center Mikhail Grigorenko is also heading to Rochester but on a conditioning assignment. That move gives the Sabres two weeks to determine whether to recall Grigorenko or send him to his junior team in Quebec.
Grigorenko has struggled finding a niche in Buffalo since being selected in the first round of the 2012 draft. After making the Sabres roster to start last season, Grigorenko was returned to Quebec in March.
He made the Sabres once again this season, but has lacked playing time. Grigorenko has missed five of the past seven games and has two goals and an assist in 15 games this season.
The demotions mark a significant shift in philosophy under LaFontaine and interim coach Ted Nolan. The two took over after general manager Darcy Regier and coach Ron Rolston were fired last week after the Sabres got off to a franchise-worst 4-15-1 start.
Regier made it clear that he was intent on rebuilding the Sabres through younger players, no matter the team's record.
On Tuesday, Nolan said the Sabres intend to fill the open roster spots later this week by recalling players from Rochester. One potential candidate is veteran forward Patrick Kaleta, who was assigned to Rochester after being waived by the Sabres two weeks ago.