BUFFALO NY - FEBRUARY 18: Vladimir Sobotka #17 of the St. Louis Blues collides with Thomas Vanek #26 of the Buffalo Sabres at HSBC Arena on February 18 2011 in Buffalo New York. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
The Buffalo Sabres have allowed 19 goals so far in their very long road trip away from home. The Blues're coming off of back-to back shutouts at home, but haven't been lighting the lamp much. Are the Sabres the cure to the Blues' scoring woes?
Brad Boyes hasn't been the sniper he was when he spent his time in St. Louis, which is saying something considering that he wasn't the sniper he was in the first two years with the Blues in his last two. Boyes, who scored 43 and 33 goals in his first two full seasons with St. Louis, scored 26 goals his last two seasons here. Blues fans h eard "Boyes shoots... high and wide!" so many times that it became a running joke, and while people wished him well after he was traded to the Buffalo Sabres, no one expected him to ever rebound. So far, those expectations are being fulfilled - he has scored an absolutely anemic three goals in 34 games.
If expectations were middling for Boyes, they were high for Ryan Miller. The former Team USA Olympic sensation has always been considered one of the top netminders in the league, but the Sabres aren't getting that from him this year. After getting plowed by Milan Lucic of the Boston Bruins on November 12th, Miller has been in a talespin, and his backup Jonas Enroth hasn't won a game in eight. Of course, the Sabres haven't won a game on the road since December 3rd, so the Blues really probably don't have to worry about which goaltender has the poorest stats or the worst record - the Sabres, as a collective, have been playing terrible hockey.
The Blues, on the other hand, have been playing outstanding hockey at home, with a league-best 20-3-3 record and back to back 1-0 shutouts against the Dallas Stars and Edmonton Oilers. The offense hasn't exactly been clicking as far as high goal output is concerned, but someone that they can consistently rely on for a point or two is defenseman Alex Pietrangelo. He has eleven points in the last eight games, and there's a distinct possibility that his point streak will continue tonight.
Jaroslav Halak is the anti-Miller. He's brought his GAA down to 2.00 and his SV% up to .920 after a shaky start, and has three shutouts in his last four starts and hasn't lost a game in regulation since November 22nd. The Blues currently own the lowest GAA in the league, and tonight could be a good chance for them to boost their goal output.