July 24, 2014

NHL Story
By Mark Ludwiczak, The Sports Xchange
Publish Date: November 19, 2013 10:53:01 PM


Stewart comes off sick bed, helps Blues top Sabres

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- St. Louis Blues right winger Chris Stewart beat the flu. Then he helped his team beat the Buffalo Sabres.
Just hours after battling a nasty illness, Stewart picked up two standout assists -- both on goals by left winger Brenden Morrow -- to lead the Blues to a 4-1 victory over the Sabres on Tuesday night.
"He didn't look like he was under the weather at all," Morrow said of Stewart. "He had some good jump out there and was turning pucks over. He made some good plays to me."
Stewart said, "I was struggling and struggling for the last 24 hours and haven't felt like that in a while. It was a good win."
Right winger Vladimir Tarasenko and left winger Magnus Paajarvi also scored for the Blues (14-3-3), helping St. Louis bounce back from a rare loss Sunday against the Washington Capitals.
St. Louis goaltender Jaroslav Halak responded with a solid, 23-save effort after being pulled in the previous game. Halak allowed three goals on six shots Sunday.
"Bottom line, he played really well," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We needed him and he played good. That's what's good for Jaro. He stepped back and he made some big saves today. That's a good sign for us."
Right winger Tyler Ennis scored the only goal for the Sabres (5-17-1). Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller made 27 saves in the loss.
"I think our youth really showed tonight," Buffalo interim coach Ted Nolan said. "This is one of the better teams in the National Hockey League. You could tell the difference between some of the younger players we have and some of the more mature players they have. So it's just part of maturing. ... We got a good lesson."
The youthful Sabres jumped out quickly, scoring just 10 seconds into the game. After Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester missed the puck in his own left circle, Buffalo center Ville Leino burst forward and found Ennis streaking toward the net. Ennis then beat Halak for his fourth goal of the season.
It was the quickest goal for the Sabres in nearly five years. Right winger Drew Stafford scored 10 seconds into a game against the Edmonton Oilers on Jan. 27, 2009.
"It's kind of another learning curve, right? We learned to start hard, and we did, we scored," Ennis said. "We didn't sustain it."
It was all St. Louis after that. Morrow evened the game one minute later, scoring on a wrist shot at 1:09. Stewart set up the goal with a pretty, behind-the-back pass from Stewart.
"They scored a quick one there 10 seconds in, it kind of caught us there by surprise, and we answered back quickly and kind of set the tempo for the game," Stewart said.
St. Louis took a 2-1 lead before the end of the first period on a power-play goal from Tarasenko. After right winger T.J. Oshie's shot was blocked in front of the Buffalo crease, Tarasenko had an open side of the net and buried the rebound for his seventh goal of the season.
"It's not the start we wanted to have, but obviously we bounced back and scored two goals before the first period was done and our guys did a great job going to the net and creating a lot of scoring chances," Halak said.
Morrow made it 3-1 with 5:51 left in the second period on his second goal of the evening. Like his first goal, this one also came on a terrific feed from Stewart. Stewart forced a Buffalo turnover behind the Sabres net and fired the puck to Morrow, who was wide open in the slot.
"Mo has a hot stick right now," Stewart said. "That was a pretty sick snipe. (Blues center Derek Roy) was in on the forecheck and kind of kicked it loose to me, and Mo was sitting there in the slot all alone, and he's not going to miss from there."
Paajarvi made it 4-1 at 6:10 of the final period with a blast through traffic from the left circle.
NOTES: Prior to the game, the Sabres assigned three of their youngest players -- D Rasmus Ristolainen, C Johan Larsson and C Mikhail Grigorenko -- to their AHL affiliate, the Rochester Americans. Ristolainen was chosen eighth overall by Buffalo in June's draft. Grigorenko was sent down on a conditioning assignment and can remain in Rochester for up to 14 days. D Nikita Zadorov, chosen 16th overall, was also reassigned to the OHL's London Knights. ... Sabres D Mike Weber was activated off of injured reserve and suited up against the Blues. ... D Carlo Colaiacovo, C Patrik Berglund and RW Adam Cracknell were scratched for the Blues


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