Late Tuesday night, the Buffalo Sabres began a three-game west coast trip in San Jose to take on the Sharks. In the end, Buffalo came up with two points in a 5-4 shootout win.
In the first period, Buffalo got caught trailing 1-0 early after Martin Havlat buried a rebound for his first goal of the year. Christian Ehrhoff was unable to clear the loose puck, and Ryan Miller could not get enough of the rebound. Havlat’s goal would be the only goal in the first period.
Tyler Myers had an impressive first period by creating offensive chances and playing physical in front of Ryan Miller. Myers even tried to fight Sharks tough guy, Mike Brown, but both were assessed roughing penalties. Buffalo played strong for the first ten minutes, but failed to register a shot after that. San Jose outshot Buffalo in the period, 16-10.
It did not take Buffalo long to tie the game early in the second period. Jamie McBain set up Drew Stafford beautifully for his second goal on the year at the 2:36 mark. McBain kept the puck in at the blue line and Drew Stafford beat Sharks goaltender, Antti Niemi through the five-hole. A little over three minutes later, Cody McCormick scored his first goal in 25 games to give the Sabres the lead. After Zemgus Girgensons won the faceoff, McCormick ripped a shot through Niemi’s five-hole to give Buffalo the 2-1 advantage. Both teams had plenty of opportunities in the second period, and each had eleven shots, but the score remained 2-1 in favor of Buffalo.
Drew Stafford registered a goal and an assist in the period, and was one of the best players in the period. He was creating multiple chances for himself and his teammates throughout the period.
On an early power play in the third, Tyler Ennis converts on a pass from Cody Hodgson to give Buffalo a 3-1 lead, just 15-seconds after Dan Boyle took a hooking penalty. Over two minutes later, Tyler Kennedy cuts the deficit to 3-2 when he put home a loose puck in front of Ryan Miller. Then 1:10 later, 19-year old Tomas Hertl banked a wrap-around off of Tyler Myers to tie the game 3-3. With 12:32 left in the third, Henrik Tallinder gave Buffalo the lead 4-3 after Tyler Ennis chipped the puck back to Tallinder for a shot that hit a defender and got through Niemi. With less than four minutes left in the third, Tommy Wingels ties the game 4-4 by diving to score off a rebound. From there, both teams held each other off to force overtime.
In overtime, San Jose had a lot of chances on Ryan Miller, but Miller turned away all six shots to force the shootout. In the shootout, Logan Couture scored first for the Sharks, but Matt Moulson responded by tying the shootout 1-1. In the fourth round of the shootout, Cody Hodgson put home the game-winning shootout goal to give Buffalo the 5-4 win.
Ryan Miller was able to turn away 47 shots on 51 shots thrown at him by the Sharks. He was able to turn away Joe Pavelski, Patrick Marleau, and Tomas Hertl in the shootout to preserve the win for the Sabres.
Many players were able to contribute offensively, and help lift Buffalo to the win. Tyler Ennis, Cody Hodgson, Drew Stafford, and Zemgus Girgensons each had two points on the evening. Ennis and Stafford each had a goal and assist and Hodgson and Girgensons had two assists each.
Buffalo’s defensive game was shaky at times, but Tyler Myers was arguably Buffalo’s best defenseman. Henrik Tallinder scored in consecutive games, and Christian Ehrhoff led all players in ice-time with 25:41 of total ice-time.
Buffalo had a better game, and definitely earned the win in San Jose. Buffalo will now travel to Los Angeles to play the kings on Thursday night. Puck drop is scheduled for 10:30pm, and can be seen on MSG and heard on WGR 550 AM.