Early outburst helps Sabres keep Blues struggling

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BUFFALO, New York (Ticker) -- An early flurry of goals helped

the Buffalo Sabres snap a long home losing streak against the

St. Louis Blues.

Adam Mair, Tim Connolly and Jason Pominville scored less than

three minutes apart early in the first period Wednesday and the

Sabres held on for a 4-3 victory over the Blues.

Defenseman Henrik Tallinder also tallied and Ryan Miller made 30

saves for Buffalo, which recorded its first home victory over

St. Louis since October 22, 1995 - a span of nine games.

"I thought we came out really well in the game," Sabres coach

Lindy Ruff said. "We did a lot of good things in tonight's game

vs. what we did in Boston (on Saturday). That was probably the

most scoring chances we generated in one game, and we didn't

really give up a lot."

Just 22 seconds after Andrew Peters and David Koci were sent to

the penalty box for fighting, the Sabres got on the board at

2:46, when Mair unleashed a slap shot from the top of the slot

that sailed just under the crossbar for a 1-0 lead.

Connolly doubled the advantage at 4:55, deflecting Jochen

Hecht's centering pass from the right side of the net past

goaltender Manny Legace. Connolly's tip went between Legace's

pads and bounced off the goalpost and a defender before entering

the net.

"I felt great going into the game, I'm just not stopping the

puck, it's as simple as that," Legace said. "I'm just not doing

the job. It's no one's fault but my own."

Legace was pulled after Buffalo added a third goal - on its

seventh shot - just 23 seconds later. Connolly centered the

puck from behind the net to Pominville, who beat the veteran

netminder to the stick side with a wrist shot.

"Tonight was a night where we got a couple, but we easily could

have gotten a few more," Pominville said. "We've had a tough

time finding the net, but we got two. We got going, and

hopefully we can help the team that way."

St. Louis got one back with 5:53 remaining in the first period,

when David Perron netted his first of the season, beating Miller

with a bad-angle shot from below the left faceoff circle.

The Blues cut the deficit to 3-2 at 3:27 of the second period.

Keith Tkachuk's centering pass bounced in front of the net, and

rookie Patrik Berglund batted the puck on his backhand past


Tallinder made it a 4-2 game 3:34 into the third period before

Lee Stempniak pulled the Blues back within one with 11:52 left

to play. Perron recorded his second assist of the game on St.

Louis' goal, setting up Stempniak right in front of the crease.

"Of course we want to build on this positive attitude, but I

think we still can play better," said Tallinder, who also had an

assist. "We were a little bit up and down today. I think maybe

instead of playing 50 minutes, we can play 60 minutes. We need

to be solid all over for 60 minutes."

With goaltender Chris Mason pulled for an extra attacker, the

Blues supplied heavy pressure in the final minute but could not

get the equalizer past Miller, extending their losing streak to

six games (0-5-1).

"It's just unfortunate we could not come back and get the win,"

Perron said. "After the 3-0 (deficit), we just wanted to step

up and play better in the second and third (periods)."

Mason turned aside 24 shots after replacing Legace.

"I don't know if there's a lot to be encouraged about," Blues

coach Andy Murray said. "We've played hard in all but one of

our games this year. We don't have a lot of results to show for

it simply because we are hurting ourselves at the beginning of

games. You get down like that, you have to chase it all night."


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