NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, January 6th (All times eastern)
Buffalo Sabres (16-18-5) at San Jose Sharks (21-14-5), 10:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - A few bad breaks prevented the Sabres from their first three-game winning streak of the season last time out. Not much went wrong for the club the last time they faced the Sharks.
Buffalo will aim to rebound tonight as it visits San Jose and HP Pavilion looking for a third straight victory in this series.
The Sabres had a two-game win streak snapped on Tuesday with a 4-3 overtime loss to the Avalanche. Young forward Tyler Ennis had a game to forget as he accidentally prevented a potential go-ahead goal for his club when he stopped teammate Luke Adam's shot from crossing the goal line late in the third period while crashing the net.
Ennis then took a high-sticking penalty in overtime and Colorado scored on the resulting power play.
Jochen Hecht and Steve Montador scored 63 seconds apart early in the third period to give the Sabres a short-lived lead, while Thomas Vanek also scored. Ryan Miller ended with 30 saves.
"I thought we came out great in the beginning of the third period with two big goals," said Adam. "They got one obviously. The chances are there, we had that open net and we had a chance in overtime -- we just have to capitalize on our chances."
Buffalo fell for the eighth time in its last 10 road games and lost the opener of a three-game swing. Patrick Kaleta sat out his second game in a row with an upper-body injury and isn't expected to return for this swing.
Vanek scored twice and Miller made 26 saves when Buffalo recorded a 6-3 home win over the Sharks on Dec. 9. Paul Gaustad added two goals and an assist as the Sabres won for the fourth time in the last five meetings between these two clubs.
Miller is 4-1-0 with a tie and 2.61 GAA lifetime versus the Sharks.
San Jose did record a 5-2 victory the last time the clubs met at HP Pavilion on Jan. 23, 2010.
Rookie Logan Couture scored and added an assist for the Sharks in the last meeting with the Sabres, part of a red-hot December that netted him top rookie honors for the month. Couture had a team-high 10 goals and four assists in 15 December games.
Couture has yet to post a point in two January games so far, including Monday's 4-3 loss to Vancouver. Jamal Mayers, Patrick Marleau and Ryane Clowe all scored in defeat, just San Jose's third in nine games.
Clowe, who scored his 11th goal of the season and is second on the club with 35 points, wasn't pleased with his team's effort versus the NHL-leading Canucks.
"We just want to cheat at times," Clowe said. "They're not afraid to play a sound offensive game, and they'll stick to it. We've got guys that want to do it occasionally, but not all the time, though, because that's hard work. And when you work hard and you win, you feel it after the game. And I guarantee you right now there's guys who don't feel that tired after that game."
Antti Niemi stopped 43-of-47 shots for the Sharks, who are five points behind the Stars for first place in the Pacific Division. Niemi made his first career start versus the Sabres in December, yielding five goals on 36 shots.
Fellow San Jose netminder Antero Niittymaki might not be a better option tonight as he is 0-3-2 with a 4.34 GAA in his career versus Buffalo.
01/06 11:15:08 ET