Sabres edge Sharks for another win

The Buffalo Sabres topped off their three-game California road-trip with a win in San Jose Saturday night. They beat the Sharks by a score of 4-3, taking two out of three games on the trip and improving to 7-1-1 on the season. They are currently tied with the Colorado Avalanche for first-place in the NHL. 

It was a game where both teams traded punches throughout the night. The Sabres never trailed in the game and got contributions from throughout the entire lineup.

The final knockout punch came 12:15 into the third period when Zemgus Girgensons buried his first goal of the season, giving the Sabres a 4-3 lead. An initial shot by Johan Larsson hit Kyle Okposo in front of the net, which led to Girgensons picking up the loose change and putting one past Sharks netminder, Martin Jones.

Prior to this cementing play, the Sharks and Sabres traded goals throughout the final frame. The first goal of the period came only 44 seconds in on a San Jose power-play. It’s been credited to Tomas Hertl, but the shot from Erik Karlsson looked to go off Rasmus Ristolainen’s skate and into the net. That tied the game at two.

The Sabres responded quickly though. Jeff Skinner knotted his fifth goal of the season on a great effort from his linemates and defenseman Jake McCabe, who jumped up in the play. That came at 2:28 into the period.

Barely 20 seconds later did the Sharks put forth a response of their own. Marcus Sorensen tipped a Brent Burns shot in front of the net, beating Linus Ullmark and tying the game at three. The Sabres showcased some serious resolve and composure which paved the way for the Girgenson’s winner.

On a night when the Sabres score four goals it’s assumed their top-line would be productive. However, the Eichel-Reinhart-Olofsson line was held off the board. The bott0m nine and the defense got the job done, being led by a pair of 20-year-olds.

Casey Mittelstadt and Henri Jokiharju had themselves a fantastic game and road trip to boot.

Jokiharju was key in getting the scoring started. It was he who skated from blue-line to blue-line before feeding Marcus Johansson with a pass leading to the Sabres’ first goal. He also factored in on the Sabres’ second goal as it was his shot from the point that Mittelstadt deflected, giving Buffalo a 2-1 lead.

This seemed to be the defining moment of the game. At first it appeared it was a good goal on the ice. Then the refs announced it was overturned because of a high-stick, and then after further review it was determined that it was a good goal. That was Casey’s 3rd goal of the season – all three coming in the last two games.

Ullmark played solid in net as well, stopping 29 shots. Many thought Carter Hutton would have gotten the start in this game, but it looks like he’ll get a chance continue his shut-out streak next game which is also against the Sharks.

That game will be in Buffalo on Tuesday with a puck drop slated for 7 p.m.



Matt Studemeyer
Matt Studemeyer
Although born and raised in Charleston, SC, I've had a passion for both hockey and the Buffalo Sabres since childhood. In addition to writing, I'm also an avid musician/guitarist and currently work in the moving and transportation industry.
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