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Sabres at Blues Recap: Buffalo steals a point in St. Louis, loses in shootout 3-2

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Strong road effort yields a point, but Sabres fall in the shootout.

Evander Kane returned to the Sabres lineup and logged over 20 minutes of ice time.
Evander Kane returned to the Sabres lineup and logged over 20 minutes of ice time.
Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Sabres stole a well-earned point on the road against one of the league's best, but they'll lament the opportunities they missed in Thursday's 3-2 shootout loss to the St. Louis Blues.

The Sabres turned it on after another slow start, out-shooting the Blues, 24-17, after the first period, but weren't able to capitalize on a pair of extended 5-on-3 opportunities that would have given them the lead. Buffalo spent a total of 2:36 with a two-man advantage in the game, but couldn't solve St. Louis' Jake Allen. Sometimes your goalie has to be your best penalty killer and Allen lived up to that. The Blues' net minder was stellar and stifled both Sabres opportunities, including a point blank save on Ryan O'Reilly in the third period, en route to a 32-save performance.

Power play prowess turned out to be the difference between one point and a possible two for Buffalo. St. Louis took advantage of its opportunities, getting both of its goals via the man advantage. The Blues were a perfect 2-for-2 on the power play, while the Sabres went 0-for-4.

Credit the Sabres for hanging tough with one of the best teams in the West and earning their point, though. They battled back twice to tie the game and led in both shots and goal, 34-29, and shot attempts, 57-48 (CF: 54.3 percent). It's the first time in five games Buffalo has out-shot its opponent.

Ryan O'Reilly stayed hot, notching his third goal in as many games and team-leading seventh of the season. If it weren't for Allen, he would've had a couple more. O'Reilly was robbed on a short handed attempt in the first period, as well as the aforementioned 5-on-3 chance in the third.

Sam Reinhart notched the Sabres' other goal on the night, putting himself in the right spot (he seems pretty good at that) to pound home a rebound for his fourth of the season earlier in the second period.

A thrilling, back and forth 3-on-3 overtime period didn't bear fruit and Alex Steen scored the shootout's only goal to seal the second point for the Blues.

Two Questions Answered

1. What impact will Evander Kane have in his return?

Kane's name didn't appear on the scoresheet, but he played 20:55 and was a plus-one. He took the Sabres' third shootout attempt, but rang it off the post with a chance to extend the game.

2. Can the Sabres avoid another slow start?

Maybe next time. Buffalo allowed another early goal, giving up a power play tally to Kevin Shattenkirk five and a half minutes into the game. They were fortunate to only be down one after a listless first period. Credit them for bouncing back, though, and giving the Blues all they could handle the rest of the way out.