The Buffalo Sabres had not lost a game in regulation to the San Jose Sharks in nearly a decade. Last month this same Sabres side pulled off a multi-goal comeback in Buffalo when the Sharks visited Key Bank Center. Today, however, the Sabres entered play more-or-less guaranteed a sixth straight year without a playoff berth while the Sharks are sitting pretty in a Pacific division that is getting younger and faster quicker than they have been able to do the same. The Shark tank was eager for this matchup.
Sabres forward Jack Eichel broke the ice a little over a minute into the game when he received a pass from Matt Moulson in front of San Jose goaltender Martin Jones and buried it. Jack Eichel’s goal was his 20th in a season where he missed the first 21 games with a high-ankle sprain. Statistically, Eichel has been the best scoring NHL player since February first. Including this game in San Jose Eichel has had points in 13 of the last 14 Sabres games. Eichel’s shining moment was the first and last solace for his team which had struggled mightily since the end of their league-mandated bye week.
While the second period began with the visiting side up 1-0 it would not stay like that. Sharks Captain Joe Pavelski scored on the power play a little over halfway through the second period. The emergency sirens were already blasting for a Sabres side being outshot by double digits. A truly awful play in the defensive zone and a mishandled puck gave the Sharks the 2-1 lead with less than a minute left in the period. While the goal was credited to Shark Michael Haley, it would not have gone in without the confused stabs of the stick of Jack Eichel.
The third period saw the San Jose club assert the dominance they had had for the duration of the game in shots in the goals department. Joe Pavelski notched his second goal of the game at 5:28 while the final dagger came from Logan Couture with a little over 5 minutes left in the game. The Sabres continue their tour of Southern California against the LA Kings in Staples Center Thursday night while the Sharks will host the St. Louis Blues in an afternoon game on Thursday.