ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues have not spent much time this season practicing for shootouts -- because they don't really expect games to get there because of the new overtime rules.
When the game did get there Thursday night, however, the Blues showed they had not forgotten what to do.
Left winger Alexander Steen scored the only goal in the third round of the shootout to lift the Blues to a 3-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres, their seventh consecutive win over the Sabres.
Steen had to wait for a video review to make certain he had scored on one motion, with the referees checking to make sure the puck had not gone in on a rebound off goalie Linus Ullmark.
"It's kind of one motion," Steen said. "I felt like he was coming so far out (on the first two shooters) I could make a quick move and beat him to the post but he was quick, he got back in a hurry and I was fortunate it squeaked over the line."
It was the first time the Blues have gone to a shootout this season after playing three games that were decided in the three-on-three overtime sessions.
"I think some of the key guys haven't done it," said Blues coach Ken Hitchcock. "I'm not sure Steen or (Kevin) Shattenkirk have done it, and I think it's a good lesson for us. We have to anticipate the people who are doing it. That's another point that's very valuable. We have to pay more attention to it.
"I'm guilty of it too because I didn't imagine with all of the scoring chances that both teams had three on three that this thing would get to a shootout to be honest with you."
Shattenkirk and right wing Vladimir Tarasenko failed to score in the first two rounds of the shootout, but goalie Jake Allen stopped shots by center Ryan O'Reilly and left wing Tyler Ennis to put the Blues in position to win on Steen's goal. Allen then secured the win by stopping a shot from left wing Evander Kane.
"It's more of a rarity this year and kind of hard to find a flow and remember what you do on a shootout," Shattenkirk said. "We have a lot of weapons and it's not only the shooters but when we don't score the first two and Jake seems ti make those saves look so easy that keeps us at ease."
The game went to the overtime and shootout in large part because of the work of the Blues' special teams. They got power play goals from Shattenkirk (after a five-minute major penalty) and Tarasenko, his 12th goal of the season, and also killed off two separate five on three power plays for the Sabres.
The Sabres had the two-man advantage for 49 seconds late in the second period and another 1:47 early in the third period but could not score on either occasion.
Their goals came from left wing Sam Reinhart on a delayed penalty in the first period and from O'Reilly midway through the second period when he was left alone in front of the St. Louis net and scored his third goal in as many games and seventh of the season.
"I thought the special teams pretty much dictated the whole game," said Sabres coach Dan Bylsma. "We were playing a tough team. A hard place to play, a hard place to get points and I thought we battled them pretty good."
O'Reilly blamed himself for not scoring on the power-plays, once getting stopped by Allen with a sprawling glove save.
"That's a must convert," O'Reilly said. "That's on me. I had multiple chances to bury them. I have to find a way to put it in the net."
NOTES: Despite taking a high-stick to his face and throat in Tuesday night's game, C Jori Lehtera was in the Blues' lineup on Thursday night. ... Also playing for the Blues was LW Steve Ott, who had missed six games because of an upper-body injury. ... The Sabres also welcomed back a key player, LW Evander Kane, who was sidelined for 10 games because of a knee injury. ... Blues C Paul Stastny, out since Oct. 18 because of a broken foot, participated in the morning skate. He is waiting for medical clearance to return to the lineup. ... Rookie D Colton Parayko missed his second consecutive game for the Blues with a lower-body injury. ... Sabres D Mark Pysyk is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. ... The Blues host Detroit on Saturday night while the Sabres stay on the road to play the Dallas Stars the same night.