Event Name: San Jose Sharks VS Buffalo Sabres
Date: Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Location: SAP Center: 525 W Santa Clara St, San Jose, CA 95113
Hosted by: San Jose Sharks Hockey
Tuesday night, the San Jose Sharks faced the Buffalo Sabres, a team with a history dating back 47 years with two Stanley Cup Finals appearances – both losses. In recent years, they have been struggling to find wins, opting to begin a rebuild a couple seasons prior. For the last 5 seasons, they have failed to qualify for the playoffs and this season doesn’t look any better for the young Sabres. However, with their young forwards Sam Reinhart and Jack Eichel leading the charge on the attack, and Rasmus Ristolainen shoring up the defense, the future looks bright. With 15 players born in the nineties, they are among the top 5 youngest teams in the league with average age of 26.3.
The Sabres came into the game seventh in Atlantic Division with 68 points while the Sharks are still holding first in the Pacific Division with 89 points. Sabres are currently 6-4-1 against the Pacific Division. This season Buffalo has won only 11 of their 34 road games, while San Jose continues to dominate at home, having now won 22 of their 34 home games. The Sabres beat the Sharks in their previous matchup, so San Jose looked to even the scores in the matchup at the tank – no easy task considering that the Sabres are currently on a franchise best 11 game point streak against the Sharks (10-0-1).
The game started with Evander Kane (9) delivering a crushing hit on Justin Braun on his behind the Sharks’ net on his very first shift. Braun appeared shaken up but did not miss any shifts. Nonetheless, the tone of the game had been set. Seconds later, Joe Pavelski’s attempt to clear the puck out the zone was intercepted by Josh Georges (4) on the left boards where he rocketed a shot to the net. The puck would deflect off of Paul Martin’s skate before landing on the tape of Matt Moulson (26) in the low slot, who wasted no time passing it to Jack Eichel (15) on the bottom of the right circle where he took a one timer to beatd he Martin Jones giving the Sabres a 1-0 lead. Just the past the half way mark of the period, Brent Burns (88) caught a pass from Chris Tierney (50) just to the left of Sabres netminder Robin Lehner (40) and drove hard through the crease in an attempt to jam the puck home. Lehner (40) made the original save, but the rebound bounced out to rookie Marcus Sorensen (20) who tapped it home. The refs immediately waved off the goal due to goalie interference, and after a challenge by the Shark’s coaching staff the original call would stand. Sharks continued to pile on shots ending the period outshooting the Sabres 20-9, but the Sabres held on to the 1-0 lead going into the break.
By the middle of the second period, the Sharks were outshooting the Sabres 30-12 but Lehner was there to make every save. That’s when Justin Falk (41) took a holding panelty on Tierney putting the Sharks on their 3rd power play of the game. One minute into the power play, Joe Thornton (19) made a pass from the top of the left circle to Logan Couture (39) at the bottom of the right circle, and he quickly threw it back out front to Pavelski in the slot where he one-timed a rocket past Lehner’s blocker tying the score 1-1. San Jose killed off a late penalty in the 2nd against the league’s top power play line to preserve the lead. In the last minute of the period, as Eichel tried to clear the puck near the goal line, Micheal Haley (38) got the tip of his stick in the way and sent the puck back towards Eichel, where it deflected off of his own skate into the net through Lehner’s 5 hole giving the Sharks a 2-0 lead.
Six minute in to the third, Eichel turned over the puck to Jannik Hansen (36) in the neutral zone, who skated it into the zone and passed it to Thornton low in the right circle. Thornton threw it back to Dylan DeMelo (74) for a hard one-timer that was blocked by Lehner, but the rebound landed on Pavelski’s stick low the left circle and he launched a rocket while on one knee that beat Lehner top shelf stick side giving the Sharks a commanding 3-1 lead. Fifteen minutes into the period, the Sabres had a 3 on 1 chance which Martin Jones (31) was able to defuse sending the Sharks up ice on the attack. Patrick Marleau (12) passed the puck up to forward to Joel Ward (42) on the left boards, where he sauced a pass right in front of Lehner. Lehner attempted to poke it away, but Couture got his stick on it causing the puck to bounce over Lehner’s head in to the net cementing a 4-1 victory for the Sharks.
The Sharks led in shots (42-23), face-offs (58%-42%) and takeaways (8-5), while the Sabres led in hits (27-25) and blocked shots (22-16). Both teams were tied in giveaways at 17.
It’s the 8th time this season the Sharks have recorded 40 or more shots. San Jose also has earned points in 21 of their last 25 games. The Sharks have not allowed a power play goal in their last 4 games, killing 10 penalties.
Joe Pavelski scored two goals and now has 9 points in his last 4 games. Pavelski was named last week’s NHL First Star of the Week for recording 6 points in four games, including a league-best 5 goals. Logan Couture registered a goal and an assist positioning him third on the team with 50 points this season.
Joe Thornton also registered 2 assists and now has 7 points in his last 5 games. Micheal Haley scored his 2nd goal of the season.
San Jose continues their regular season Thursday against the St. Louis Blues.
INDTVUSA Staff Writer