St. Louis, MO (SportsNetwork.com) - Brian Elliott came through with an outstanding fill-in job for Ryan Miller, a 24-save effort that lifted the St. Louis Blues to a 2-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres.
Maxim Lapierre and Brenden Morrow each tallied goals, with the latter's coming with 1:52 left to play to help the Western Conference-leading Blues improve to 13-3-1 since they acquired Miller, Buffalo's all-time leader in wins and games played by a goaltender, on Feb. 28.
The longtime Sabre was rested in his first encounter with his former club since the trade, with Elliott taking a shutout bid that was finally spoiled by Cody Hodgson with under a minute remaining.
"I've been around Brian (Elliott) for three years, this is the best I've ever seen him play," St. Louis head coach Ken Hitchcock said. "He's playing terrific."
With the result, St. Louis set a new franchise record with its 52nd win of the season.
Nathan Lieuwen recorded 26 saves for Buffalo in a losing cause.
"We can definitely look at the mistakes and see where we can get better," Lieuwen said. "I definitely think we could have taken this game in overtime and given them a run for their money."
Lieuwen, fresh off earning his first NHL win in Tuesday's shootout decision over New Jersey, matched Elliott for much of the way, with the lone goal over the first 58 minutes of action supplied by Lapierre early in the second period.
Camped out in the slot, the Blues' center fired a behind-the-net feed from Ryan Reaves 1:59 into the middle session for a 1-0 edge.
The score remained that way until the game's final stages, when Morrow came up with a crucial late goal by crashing the net to poke in the rebound after Lieuwen stopped Vladimir Sobotka in close.
Buffalo responded swiftly, with Hodgson one-timing a cross-ice pass from Tyler Ennis past Elliott while stationed in the left circle with 55.1 seconds to go. The Sabres got off one more shot in the final seconds, which Elliott turned aside.
The Blues had 51 wins in 1999-2000, the only season they took home the President's Trophy ... Buffalo defenseman Jake McCabe made his NHL debut just one day after the 20-year-old Wisconsin product signed an entry-level contract with the team. He became the 44th player to suit up for the club this season, a franchise record ... The Blues also played without leading scorer Alex Steen (upper body) and defenseman Barret Jackman (lower body), with blueliner Jordan Leopold getting into the lineup for the first time since Feb. 8 ... Elliott improved to 9-0-2 all-time against the Sabres ... Sabres forward Marcus Foligno was injured on his first shift and did not return.