The Buffalo Sabres were unsure if it’s game against the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night was going to be played due to a freak snowstorm that blanketed some areas of Western New York with up to five feet of snow in a 24-hour period.
After much debate, the organization decided that the show must go on. The game was played in front of roughly 6,200 fans in attendance, but the Sabres come away with a 4-1 win over the Sharks at the First Niagara Center.
The Sabres came into the matchup winners of the last seven meetings between the two teams, and 15-1 overall at home against the Sharks. The Sabres were also looking to win consecutive games for the first time this year.
After a scoreless first period, Nick Deslauriers opened the scoring for the Sabres off of a rebound at the 5:25 mark of the second. Brent Burns tied the game a little over five minutes later on the powerplay for the Sharks. Less than a minute-and-a-half later, Sabres captain Brian Gionta gets his first goal on the season to give Buffalo a 2-1 lead. With less than 12-seconds left in the second period, Gionta sets up Brian Flynn on a 2-on-1 play for the third Sabres goal.
The Sabres held down the Sharks for the third period, and Brian Gionta added an empty netter for his second goal of the game, and the final goal to cap off the 4-1 win.
Michal Neuvirth, who started the game in the first period, left the game at the start of the second period due to an injury. As of right now, it appears that Neuvirth may be out for more than a few days. This means a goaltender is most likely going to be recalled from the Rochester Americans as soon as Wednesday, unless the snow does not allow for the goaltender to make it to Buffalo. Neuvirth made 10 saves in the first period before being replaced by Jhonas Enroth, who made 19 saves on 20 shots faced in the final two periods.
As a side note, Sabres goaltender coach Arturs Irbe signed a contract after the first period in case he was needed to replace Enroth. Irbe played a total of 13 NHL seasons with teams such as San Jose, Dallas, Vancouver, and Carolina.
For the Sabres, this is the team’s first winning streak of the season, and its eighth straight win against the Sharks. The Sabres will next play on Friday night as they take on the New York Rangers from the First Niagara Center. Opening face-off is scheduled for 7pm.