Sharks Win in Buffalo, Beat Sabres 3-2

San Jose Sharks goaltender Adin Hill stops one of the 37 shots he saved against the Buffalo Sabers this one in the first period in Buffalo on Thu Jan 6, 2022 (AP News photo)

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks defeated the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 Thursday. It was just the Sharks’ fourth win in Buffalo in franchise history. Matt Nieto, Timo Meier, and Tomas Hertl scored for the Sharks. Adin Hill made 36 saves for the win. Jeff Skinner and Zemgus Girgensons scored for the Sabres. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made 18 saves in the loss.

The Sharks were again without Logan Couture and Jonathan Dahlen but defenseman Mario Ferraro returned to the lineup from the COVID-19 list. Goaltender James Reimer was also unavailable due to a lower body injury of unspecified severity. This puts some pressure on Adin Hill to return to form as the starter.

Sharks Head Coach Bob Boughner mentioned that Adin Hill had his swagger back in Thursday’s game, and the team fed off of that confidence. He summed up the team’s performance as: “We weren’t perfect but we were a lot better and it’s a good sign.”

Sharks forward Matt Nieto talked about scoring a goal with his line-mates Andrew Cogliano and Nick Bonino: “We haven’t really created offense the way we would like to. We think we’ve gotten a lot of chances so it’s nice to get one tonight. Hopefully more start coming.”

Nieto started a brief first-period flurry of scoring for the Sharks at 12:27. Andrew Cogliano sent the puck up from the goal line to Nieto inside the face-off dot. Nieto took the shot from an awkward angle but got it by Luukkonen on the blocker side. Assists went to Cogliano and Nick Bonino.

Timo Meier made it 2-0 at 13:44. Tomas Hertl got the puck across the line and then dropped it to Meier. Meier took a quick shot from the point and rang it off the post and in. Assists went to Hertl and Mario Ferraro.

Tomas Hertl made it 3-0 at 17:24. Alexander Barabanov cleared the puck out of the Sharks zone and then chased it down to carry it into the Sabres zone. He dropped it to a trailing Hertl who took the shot from the slot for his 17th of the season.

Jeff Skinner scored for Buffalo at 7:56 of the second. Skinner pulled the puck out of a board battle and carried it to the slot before taking the shot. The puck went over Hill’s stick, off the post and in. Victor Olofsson got the assist.

Zemgus Girgensons made it 3-2 with a power play goal at 18:14 of the third. Tage Thompson took a shot from the point that went off of the bar and came back out to bounce down Hill’s shoulder before landing behind him. Before Hill could find it, Girgensons swept it in. Assists went to Thompson and Rasmus Dahlin.

The Sabres pulled their goaltender with 92 seconds left and made a good push but the Sharks held on.

The Sabres out-shot the Sharks in every period for a shot total of 39-21, and in the third period they out-shot the Sharks 22-5. The Sabres also beat the Sharks in the face-off circle, winning 60% of the draws. The Sharks only had one power play but had no shots on that one. The Sabres had three power plays in which they had seven shots and a goal.

The Sharks’ next game is on Saturday in Philadelphia against the Flyers at 4:00 PM PT.

Sharks Beat Sabres 5-3; Seven Sharks sit for Covid protocols still get second straight win

San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl celebrates scoring his fifth goal of the season on this third period goal at 6:02 against the Buffalo Sabres at SAP Center in San Jose on Tue Nov 2, 2021 (AP News photo)

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE- The San Jose Sharks defeated the Buffalo Sabres 5-3 Tuesday night in San Jose. Sharks goals came from Tomas Hertl (2), Jonathan Dahlen, Ryan Merkley and Mario Ferraro. James Reimer made 25 saves for the win. Sabres goals came from Jeff Skinner (2) and Drake Caggiula. Craig Anderson made 22 saves in the loss.

The Sharks roster is still in a state of flux due to COVID-19 protocols. Jonathan Dahlen was back, as was Andrew Cogliano, but Timo Meier and Kevin Labanc were out. Erik Karlsson, Jake Middleton, Matt Nieto, Radim Simek and Marc-Edouard Vlasic remained out. Logan Couture returned after missing the last game, though not for COVID-19.

After the game, Couture said: “It was chaotic but proud of the effort again. I mean, found a way. Went down to five D early in that second period, or maybe even half way through that second period. Credit to those guys back there, they found a way. I mean, it wasn’t pretty, the whole game, but, found a way.”

Jonathan Dahlen scored first for the Sharks, at 7:25 of the first period. Brent Burns sent a shot from the blue line right down the middle and into a swarm of bodies at the net. The puck evaded Anderson and sliped back into open ice where Dahlen lifted it into the net. Assists went to William Eklund and Burns.

A little over a minute later, Buffalo’s Jeff Skinner tied the game during a delayed penalty. His shot zipped through traffic in the slot and past Reimer. Assists went to Vinnie Hinostroza and Robert Hagg.

Ryan Merkley made it 2-1 Sharks at 12:49. After holding the puck patiently at the blue line, he took a shot that went off of a couple Sabres in front of the net before landing behind Anderson. Assists went to Alexander Barabanov and Tomas Hertl.

Hertl made it 3-1 Sharks early in the second period. Rudolfs Balcers picked up a turnover in the Sabres zone and carried it almost to the goal line before passing it back to the Hertl at the top of the slot. Hertl carried the puck around traffic down to the net and put it past Anderson at 6:13.

Drake Caggiula cut the Sharks lead down a bit at 13:33. Hinostroza brought the puck across the line and then passed it to Caggiula on the boards. Caggiula took a hard shot that went by Reimer on the far side. Assists went to Hinostroza and Dylan Cozens.

Early in the third, Mario Ferraro scored his first of the season with a one-timer from the blue line, off a pass from Nick Merkley. Assists went to Merkley and Jasper Weatherby.
Tomas Hertl added another at 11:46 to make it 5-2. He got the puck from Balcers just as he entered the zone, then wove his way through traffic right down the slot before taking the shot. Assists went to Balcers and Ferraro.

Jeff Skinner scored his second of the game at 18:13. Just as the puck jumped off of Reimer’s glove, Skinner tapped it out of the air. It bounced off the back of Reimer’s helmet and landed over the line. Assists went to Tage Thompson and Rasmus Asplund.

A littl emore than half way through the second period, Sharks defenseman Santeri Hatakka left the game with an upper body injury. He did not return and the team did not have any updates after the game.

The Sharks made an excellent showing in the face-off circle, winning 64% of the draws. The shot count was consistently close through the three periods, ending up 28-27 Sabres. There were few penalties in the game, and fewer power play shots. The Sharks power play had one shot on goal, the Sabres power play had none.

The Sharks next play on Thursday, at home against the St. Louis Blues at 7:30 PM PT.

Hurricanes Blow Out Sharks 5-2

By Mary Walsh

AP photo Carolina Hurricanes John Michael Liles (26) pass puck by the San Jose Sharks Melker Karlsson (68) in the first period of Friday’s game

The San Jose Sharks ended a three-game winning streak with a 5-2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday. Like the Sharks, the Hurricanes played the night before. Where the Sharks won their Thursday game in a shootout, the Hurricanes lost 4-2 in Ottawa. Friday, the Hurricanes bested the Sharks in every area of the game, in faceoffs, hits, shots, shot attempts as well as scoring.

Sharks coach Pete DeBoer described it as a well-deserved loss:

They took the game over, you know, we didn’t have an answer. We pretty much got what we deserved I think tonight. I think we lost too many of the tough areas: the faceoffs, special teams. When you lose three or four significant areas in the game, you’re not going to win. They deserved the win and we deserved what we got.

The Hurricanes are this season’s least penalized NHL team so the fact that the Sharks did not have a power play in the game is not very surprising. The Hurricanes got two goals from Jeff Skinner, and goals from Chris Terry, Joakim Nordstrom and Jordan Staal. Cam Ward made 22 saves on 24 shots for the Hurricanes. Sharks goals were scored by Brent Burns and Tomas Hertl. Martin Jones made 32 saves on 36 shots for the Sharks.

The loss left the Sharks’ position in the standings unchanged from the night before, except for the loss of a game in hand over the Kings and the Ducks. The Sharks are still in third place in the Pacific Division, three points behind the Kings and one behind the Ducks.

After the game, Sharks captain Joe Pavelski addressed the question of whether the Sharks’ tough schedule on this road trip had something to do with the loss:

They were in a similar situation, coming back last night. We weren’t very good all night. I was awful. That’s one of the worst games I’ve had in a while. There were a few plays out there, a lot of plays I’d like to have back… You never let that affect you though, three games in four nights. You’ve got to manufacture your game.

Sharks head coach Pete DeBoer had a similar take on the game: “It’s one of those games. We’ve been consistently good for a long time, and you’re going to have those once in a while. It’s how we respond to it. I think we just have to throw it away and get ready for the next one.”

For the third game in a row, the Sharks gave up the first goal. This time it was a curious shot that bounced high off Chris Terry’s stick and over Martin Jones’ head. Assists went to Noah Hanifin and Riley Nash.

The Sharks got it back near the end of the period, when a nice pass from Joel Ward found Brent Burns high in the slot. It was Burns’ 19th goal of the season and his first in 19 games. Assists went to Ward and Matt Nieto.

The teams ended the period tied in shots was well as goals with eight each.

Early in the second period, the teams played four on four while Melker Karlsson and Eric Staal sat in the box for and embellishment respectively. Neither team scored.

The first power play went to Carolina in the second period, a delay of game penalty to Tomas Hertl after he swept the puck out of play during a frantic scramble in front of the Sharks’ net. Carolina had three shots during the power play and the Sharks cleared the puck out twice, though not until the final half minute of the penalty.

Carolina took the lead back at 12:25 of the second. Joakim Nordstrom crossed the blue line without any pressure and his shot from high in the slot blew by Jones as if unseen. The Sharks had three skaters back but none got in Nordstrom’s way. Assists went to Jordan Staal and Bret Pesce.

Instead of tying the game up again before the period ended, the Sharks finished the period on the penalty kill. Mike Brown took issue with a hit on Marc-Edouard Vlasic and three penalties resulted: Brown for holding Jordan Staal, Staal for roughing against Mike Brown and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty to Brown.

The Sharks were badly outshot in the second period, 18-4. They were also losing in the shot attempts category 42-21 and the faceoff circle 21-6. It was hardly surprising that they were behind 2-1 on the scoreboard.

The Sharks started the third period with most of the Brown penalty still to kill. Before the first minute elapsed, Carolina seemed to score but the official called it back for incidental contact with the goaltender. Eric Staal seemed to hook Martin Jones under the pad and pulled him to the right while Jones was trying to reach to his left. Carolina challenged the call and the play was reviewed and the call was overturned.

The power play goal went to Jeff Skinner with assists to Eric Staal and Kris Versteeg.

10:38 into the third period, the Sharks cut the lead to 3-2. Patrick Marleau stole the puck from Carolina goaltender Cam Ward behind the net and passed it quickly to the front of the net. Tomas Hertl was there to tap it in. It was Hertl’s 12th goal of the season and Marleau’s 20th assist.

With just under five minutes remaining, Carolina took back their two goal lead when Jaccob Slavin’s shot bounced off a skate to Skinner in the slot. An empty netter from Jordan Staal sealed the deal at 17:35.

The Sharks next play in St. Louis against the Blues on Monday.

Forward Mike Brown was in the lineup for the first time since January 24, as Tommy Wingels was injured early in Thursday’s game in Sunrise. Melker Karlsson took the open spot on the third line with Joonas Donskoi and Logan Couture, and Brown took Karlsson’s spot on the fourth line with Chris Tierney and Dainius Zubrus. Brown had one hit and three blocked shots in the game. The top two lines remained as they have been, with Hertl, Thornton and Pavelski on the top line and Marleau, Ward and Nieto on the second line.

Sharks defenseman Brenden Dillon missed his fourth game. Matt Tennyson has played in his stead with Dylan Demelo on the blue line. Tennyson finished Friday’s game with a -1 rating , a blocked shot and a hit.