St. Louis, MO (SportsNetwork.com) – Blues rookie Jori Lehtera will make the
headlines for recording a natural hat trick in Tuesday’s 6-1 drubbing of the
Buffalo Sabres, but his linemates, Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Tarasenko,
provided the context.
Two of Lehtera’s goals resulted from nifty back-passes by Tarasenko, and
Schwartz set up the rookie for a short-handed tally to complete the hat trick.
“He’s a hard-working guy,” Schwartz said about Lehtera. “He’s a big reason why
our line is scoring right now.”
Schwartz was credited with three assists, Joakim Lindstrom added two late
goals and Brian Elliot made 28 saves in the win, St. Louis’ eighth in their
last nine games.
Tyler Ennis scored Buffalo’s lone goal while Michal Neuvirth surrendered six
goals on 29 shots in the club’s fourth straight setback.
“We have to see what is working and what gave us success in that first period
and put a full game together,” Sabres captain Brian Gionta said.
Neuvirth had very little help in front on him, especially against Lehtera’s
The Sabres were caught on their heels late in the opening period, and an odd-
man rush saw Schwartz feed Tarasenko between the circles. Tarasenko faked a
one-timer and left a pass behind him, and Lehtera snapped a shot past a
screened Neuvirth with 2:52 left on the clock.
Lehtera cashed in on a give-and-go with Tarasenko 3:21 into the middle period,
and Schwartz put on quite the display late in the middle stanza.
After sending himself a pass off the boards to avoid Tyler Myers in the
neutral zone, Schwartz stopped on a dime in front of Neuvirth and needled a
pass through two defenders. Lehtera was on the receiving end and found the
back of the net with 5:34 remaining in the second.
A chippy third period started with the Sabres going on a quick power play and
Ennis scoring just under the one-minute mark.
Any chance of a Buffalo comeback took a hit when Nicolas Deslauriers was given
a 10-minute match penalty for spearing Tarasenko with 5:42 remaining.
David Backes scored off a deflection 2:20 into the major penalty, and
Lindstrom netted a pair 58 seconds apart to cap the rout.
Lehtera scored three goals over his first 13 games … Alexander Steen also
recorded three assists … The Blues were 0-for-5 on the power play prior to
their last three goals … Elliott improved to 11-0-2 against the Sabres …
The Blues have claimed 15 of the last 17 meetings.