Patrick Marleau scored his fifth goal of the season with 2:01 left in the three-on-three overtime period to hand the San Jose Sharks a 2-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres at the First Niagara Center on Saturday night.
The goal was Marleau’s 90th game winner of his 18 year career.
The Sharks’ win was the first time in nearly a decade that the Sharks toppled the Sabres in Buffalo. The loss ended a Sabres eight-game win streak over the Sharks whose only previous win in Buffalo came in their fourteenth NHL season, December 2, 2005.
Marleau, the 36 year old left winger, figured in both Sharks’ markers. Marc-Edouard Vlasic scored through a Marleau screen just 1:48 into the first period while Buffalo’s Jake McCabe sat in the penalty box for slashing Tommy Wingels.
Losing goalie Chad Johnson, who stopped 23 of 24 shots in regulation, had no chance on the play. Captain Joe Pavelski had the primary assist on the tally, racking up his 500th career point. Brent Burns had the secondary assist. The goal snapped an 0-14 streak of power play woe that had spanned six games.
Sabres’ leading point man, Ryan O’Reilly tied the game on a strong individual play 6:27 into the third period. O’Reilly jumped off the bench, took a deflected Rasmus Ristolainen pass from the skates of a struggling Paul Martin, and fired a laser from the left faceoff circle into the top corner over goalie Martin Jones’ right shoulder. Ristolainen, who now has three goals and three assists in his last four games, and Josh Gorges were credited with the assists.
The Sabres’ best chance to surge came at the midpoint of the first period when the Sharks were called for a too-many-men bench minor followed just 35 seconds later by a Captain Joe Pavelski tripping infraction against Jake McCabe. The Sharks were able to hold the Sabres to just two shots while killing the two-man advantage that lasted1:25. Buffalo finished the game 0-3 on the power play while the Sharks were 1-3.
O’Reilly, Marleau and Jones were named the three stars.
The Sharks (9-8-0), who beat the Detroit Red Wings on Friday night, have now won consecutive games for the first time since they won their first four contests to open the 2015 campaign. The Sabres (8-8-1) host the league-leading Dallas Stars on Tuesday.