Buffalo Sabres teammates gather after defeating the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center in San Jose on Sat Feb 18, 2023 (@BuffaloSabres photo)
By Jerry Feitelberg
The San Jose Sharks returned home to face the Buffalo Sabres Saturday night at the Shark Tank. The Sharks were hoping to snap a two-game losing streak. That was not in the cards as the Sabres skated to a 4-2 win over the Sharks.
The Sharks lost a close game to the first-place Las Vegas Golden Knights in Sin City Thursday night. The Sharks were hoping to right the ship against Buffalo based on their strong effort, even though they came up short,
In fifth place in the Atlantic Division, the Sabers needed a win as they are fighting to make it into the playoffs as a Wild Card team. Buffalo got a much-needed win when they beat the hapless Anaheim Ducks 7-3 Wednesday night in Anaheim.
The Sabres started the scoring early in the first period. Dylan Cozen notched his 20th goal of the year as he put the puck past Sharks’ goalie Kaapo Kahkonen. The time of the goal was at 3:01. The Sharks responded with their first goal with 16:49 played. Evgeny Svechnikov put the puck past Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen for his sixth of the year. Assist went to Jacob MacDonald and Steve Lorentz. The first period ended tied 1-1.
The Sabres grabbed a 2-1 lead when Owen Power lit the lamp with 6:26 played/ Alex Tuch and Jeff Skinner assisted on the play. The Sharks tied the game when Alexander Barbanov was in the right place at the right time. One of the Sharks’ players shot past the net and hit the boards, the puck rebounded right to Barbanov’s stick, Luukkonen was out of position, and Barbanov had an easy goal.
It was number 11 for Barbanov. Logan Couture and Erik Karlsson assisted. For Karlsson, it was his 56th assist of the season. The teams were tied 2-2 at the end of the second period.
The Sharks, who are not going to the playoffs for the second year in a row, wanted to upset Buffalo’s apple cart Saturday night. The Sabres needed the win to stay close to a possible playoff spot. The last 20 minutes would determine the winner.
The teams battled it out on both ends of the ice. Buffalo, as they had done in the first and second periods, scored the first goal of the third period. The goal was scored by the Sharks’ killer, Jeff Skinner. Skinner notched his 21st of the year. It was Skinner’s seventh goal in his last seven games against the Sharks.
The Sharks need to come back from a one-goal deficit for the third time in the game. They tried, but they couldn’t get the puck into the net. They pulled their goalie and put pressure on the Sabres. However, Alex Tuch found himself alone in the Sharks’ zone and put the puck into an empty net to ice the win for Buffalo 4-2.
Game Notes: With the loss, the Sharks are now 17-29-11 for the year. They are in seventh place in the Pacific Division with 45 points. The Sharks are 5-14-7 at home. They have 25 games left on the schedule. Buffalo won the season series 2-0. Buffalo is now 28-22-4 good for 60 points.
The Sharks play the third-place Seattle Kraken at the Shark Tank Monday afternoon. The game will start at 1:00 pm.