ST. LOUIS -- The Sabres have lost a franchise-record 11 straight games on the road, completely out of character for a team that's been good away from home in recent years -- and one that started this year 8-3 in enemy rinks. Thomas Vanek didn't mince any words today when talking about it.
"It's embarrassing," Vanek said after the pregame skate in Scottrade Center. "Since day one when I got here, I always prided myself -- and it's what I learned from the older guys -- to be a good road team which I thought we've always done a great job at. Right now it's a mistake and it goes south for us. Up front, we're not doing much either."
The Sabres have been trying to put on a happy face this week. Practice in Chicago was very upbeat and guys were relaxed at yesterday's optional skate here. But that's often an athlete's facade.
"Mentally, it's tough. I'm not going to lie here and say we're doing just great because we're not," Vanek said. "Obviously guys are trying to fight through it and bring a good attitude which is positive. We know sometimes it takes one [win] and it would be good to do it tonight against a very good hockey club."
The Sabres growing problem is other teams' knowledge of the streak. No one wants to be the team to let Buffalo up off the mat. Teams are going to get the Sabres down fast and let the bad feelings re-emerge.
"I would do the same thing if I was on the other side," Vanek said.
"I imagine [the Blues] are licking their chops. They should be," said coach Lindy Ruff. "Any time you see a team and the end of a road trip that's struggled, I'm sure they're going to really, really want to come after us, press us with all five guys."
Vanek is in his first slump of the season, with no goals in seven games and just one in his last 11. He didn't have much to offer on his own game.
"It hasn't been my personal best stretch but I'm trying to play the system hard," he said. "When I get a chance, I just need to bury it."
In other news, Patrick Kaleta appears to be good to go but T.J. Brennan did not come to the arena today because of the flu and will likely be replaced in the lineup tonight by Joe Finley. It will be Ryan Miller in goal against red-hot Jaroslav Halak, who has posted back-to-back 1-0 shutouts over Dallas and Edmonton and is working a shutout streak of more than 148 minutes.
Click below to hear from Vanek and Ruff.