Conklin Stops 25 Shots in Blues 3-0 Win
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BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Ty Conklin stopped 25 shots to lead the Blues to a 3-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Friday, shortly after St. Louis traded captain Eric Brewer to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
T.J. Oshie had a goal and assist to enjoy his first two-point outing since he returned Jan. 18 after missing 31 games with a broken left ankle. David Backes and Vladimir Sobotka, with an empty-netter, also scored for the Blues, who won their second in a row and improved to 4-1-2 in their past seven.
The Sabres, coming off a 2-1 loss to Toronto on Wednesday, lost two straight for the first time during a 21-game stretch in which they’re now 13-6-2. They also squandered a chance to move two points ahead of idle 10th-place Atlanta in the Eastern Conference standings.
The loss also came on the day the NHL’s board of governors approved the Sabres sale to Pennsylvania billionaire Terry Pegula.
Conklin continued his mastery of the Sabres, improving to 7-1 against Buffalo a team he briefly played for during the 2006-07 season. He’s now beaten Buffalo with four teams, the others being Edmonton, Pittsburgh and Detroit.
Conklin got the start after Jaroslav Halak hurt his right hand and was placed on injured reserve on Thursday. It was the 15th shutout of his career and second this season.
Oshie opened the scoring 2:47 into the second period by converting Patrik Berglund’s centering pass into the slot. Berglund, parked near the right post, had his initial pass blocked, but got the puck back again to find Oshie cruising through the middle.
Backes scored a power-play goal with 1:22 left in the second period by one-timing a shot from the left point that wobbled on its way to the net and beat a screened Ryan Miller over his left shoulder.
Sabres fans expressed their unhappiness by booing the team off the ice after the second period.
Hours prior to the game, the Blues traded Brewer to Tampa Bay in exchange for defenseman Brock Beukeboom, an unsigned draft pick, and a third-round pick in the 2011 draft. General manager Doug Armstrong said that he outlined the team’s plans to Brewer this past week to get the captain to drop his no-trade clause.
Brewer, eligible to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, identified the Lightning as a team he’d be willing to traded to.
For Buffalo, they’ll officially have a new owner in Pegula some time next week after he closes the $189 million purchase of the team from Tom Golisano. Pegula cleared the final step in his purchase by receiving approval from the NHL board of governors on Friday, a person familiar with the board’s vote told The Associated Press.
The Sabres finally showed some life five minutes into the third period when Buffalo’s Patrick Kaleta caught defenseman Carlo Calaiacovo with his head down and leveled him a heavy hit in the right corner of the Blues zone. Though the Sabres showed more zip – and Kaleta nearly scored following the next face off – it didn’t last long.
Some seven minutes later, the fans were booing the Sabres again as they had difficulty getting out of their own zone.
Calaiacovo lay on the ice for several minutes, before getting up on his own. He was escorted to the locker room and did not return.
Notes: Sabres D Steve Montador returned after missing five games because of concussion-like symptoms. Sabres C Rob Niedermayer was a healthy scratch. … Prior to a 4-3 win over the Blues in their previous visit to Buffalo on Nov. 12, 2008, the Sabres had gone 0-6-2 at home to St. Louis dating to a 2-2 tie on Jan. 3, 1997. … With Brewer traded, the Blues went with three alternate captains, Barret Jackman, Erik Johnson and David Backes.
Copyright Associated Press