St. Louis, MO (SportsNetwork.com) - Brian Elliott came through with an
outstanding fill-in job for Ryan Miller, a 24-save effort that lifted the St.
Louis Blues to a 2-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres.
Maxim Lapierre and Brenden Morrow each tallied goals, with the latter's coming
with 1:52 left to play to help the Western Conference-leading Blues improve to
13-3-1 since they acquired Miller, Buffalo's all-time leader in wins and games
played by a goaltender, on Feb. 28.
The longtime Sabre was rested in his first encounter with his former club
since the trade, with Elliott taking a shutout bid that was finally spoiled by
Cody Hodgson with under a minute remaining.
"I've been around Brian (Elliott) for three years, this is the best I've ever
seen him play," St. Louis head coach Ken Hitchcock said. "He's playing
With the result, St. Louis set a new franchise record with its 52nd win of the
Nathan Lieuwen recorded 26 saves for Buffalo in a losing cause.
"We can definitely look at the mistakes and see where we can get better,"
Lieuwen said. "I definitely think we could have taken this game in overtime
and given them a run for their money."
Lieuwen, fresh off earning his first NHL win in Tuesday's shootout decision
over New Jersey, matched Elliott for much of the way, with the lone goal over
the first 58 minutes of action supplied by Lapierre early in the second
Camped out in the slot, the Blues' center fired a behind-the-net feed from
Ryan Reaves 1:59 into the middle session for a 1-0 edge.
The score remained that way until the game's final stages, when Morrow came up
with a crucial late goal by crashing the net to poke in the rebound after
Lieuwen stopped Vladimir Sobotka in close.
Buffalo responded swiftly, with Hodgson one-timing a cross-ice pass from Tyler
Ennis past Elliott while stationed in the left circle with 55.1 seconds to go.
The Sabres got off one more shot in the final seconds, which Elliott turned
The Blues had 51 wins in 1999-2000, the only season they took home the
President's Trophy ... Buffalo defenseman Jake McCabe made his NHL debut just
one day after the 20-year-old Wisconsin product signed an entry-level contract
with the team. He became the 44th player to suit up for the club this season,
a franchise record ... The Blues also played without leading scorer Alex Steen
(upper body) and defenseman Barret Jackman (lower body), with blueliner Jordan
Leopold getting into the lineup for the first time since Feb. 8 ... Elliott
improved to 9-0-2 all-time against the Sabres ... Sabres forward Marcus
Foligno was injured on his first shift and did not return.