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Sharks 5, Sabres 1: Couture hat trick, power play come together on home ice

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A stealthy debut for the third jerseys laid the curse of the Buffalo to rest.

Oct 18, 2018; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks center Logan Couture (39) prepares for the face-off against the Buffalo Sabres in the third period at SAP Center at San Jose. John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

After a rough road trip, the San Jose Sharks returned to the friendly confines of the Shark Tank where they defeated the Buffalo Sabres 5-1.

Much was made of their inability to score on the power play to start this season, but this game showed glimpses of its potential as the Sharks scored not one, not two, but three goals on the power play. Despite that, Buffalo hung around for two periods as they were trailing by a goal heading into the third period, but the Sharks proved to be too much for the young squad.

In the third, the Sharks scored three unanswered goals, including a hat trick from Logan Couture. All in all, the Sharks put together what the numbers have been saying so far this season; they average a high amount of shots and tonight they were going in for them.

The power play appears to have no troubles after making some adjustments to it, so now this team can show its potential on the man-advantage and make tonight’s performance a consistent one and not an outlier.

Pregame

After a 1-2-1 road trip through the Eastern time zone, the San Jose Sharks return home to start a two-game home stand beginning with the Buffalo Sabres.

Other than their performance against the New York Islanders, the Sharks were largely in control of the puck during 5-on-5 play. However, their special team struggles, particularly on the power play and taking ill advised penalties, were hindering them from having a successful road trip.

Nonetheless, the Sharks are returning to the Shark Tank as they look to rebound and finally have some puck luck with the shots they continue to generate. In net, Martin Jones will get the call for his second straight start, after putting together a good performance in New Jersey.

Tonight is the start of the Sabres’ swing through California. Jack Eichel leads the team in points and is tied for first in goals, so expect him to get the attention of Marc-Édouard Vlasic and Erik Karlsson, with the Sharks having the last change. Another young player to watch on the Sabres is defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, who possesses game-breaking skill on the offensive side of the puck.

Side note, today marks the first of three games in which the Sharks will help celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, along with the debut of the Stealth Mode jerseys.

These are the lines that the Sharks will roll out tonight. Kevin Labanc remains on the first line filling in for the injured Joe Thornton.

Finally, here are some stats heading into tonight’s game

Puck drop from SAP Center is at 7:30 p.m. PT/10:30 p.m. ET, broadcasting on NBC Sports California. Check back then for live reactions to the game.

First Period

Hey everyone, Eddie here with the liveblog today and here’s hoping the Sharks can get this two-game home stand off on the right foot.

20:00: Lets drop the puck and get this game going!

18:15: Sharks are off to the power play, let’s see how they do here.

16:25: GOAL! Karlsson with the shot but Donskoi cleans it up and it’s 1-0 Sharks

15:58: What power play struggles?! Couture with the goal and it’s 2-0 Sharks!

14:06: Sharks go back to the power play after the Sabres get called for slashing

12:39: Meier was so close in getting the Sharks third goal!

9:44: The Sharks are able to kill off the Erik Karlsson penalty

8:36: Sharks heading back to the power play, their fourth of the period

6:38: The Sharks are unable to score on the power play

4:30: Sharks take a penalty for tripping and head back to the penalty kill

2:43: Mittelstadt has Jones beat but couldn’t get it past the post

1:39: Jones is having a busy end to the period

1:08: Sharks will close the first period on the penalty kill

End of the First Period

Let’s start with the good, the power play looked great going two for four and opening the game with two power play goals is a confidence booster for a power play that struggled out of the gate. Now the bad, the Sabres are controlling the puck, possessing a 70% Corsi-For during 5v5 and the Sharks cannot seem to stay out of the box as the Sabres had three penalties and will head into the second period on the penalty kill. The Sharks are playing with fire if they continue taking these amount of penalties and as we saw in New Jersey, it can come back to haunt them.

Second Period

19:07: Sharks kill the penalty and the penalty kill is three for three

18:25: Sabres make it 2-1 with a goal from Jake McCabe

17:58: One again, the Sharks head to the penalty kill

15:58: Sharks are able to kill off their fourth penalty

13:31: The Sharks get their fifth power play of the game, hopefully they can regain their two-goal lead

11:56: Vlasic came close to scoring the Sharks third goal!

11:31: The Sharks get some good looks, but are unable to score on the power play

4:19: Labanc comes close, but Hutton keeps him off the scoresheet

3:30: Melker Karlsson and Goodrow is unable to convert on the 2-on-1

1:00: Another 2-on-1 that the Sharks cannot beat Hutton on, oh so close!

End of the Second Period

A much better second period, when it comes to staying out of the box. The Sharks did surrender the goal to the Sabres but they aren’t shooting themselves in the foot and handing them opportunities to so that’s a positive sign. Also, the Sharks controlled the puck in the second period with a 63% CF and had 13 scoring chances-for, which included two 2-on-1’s that there were unable to convert. Nonetheless, they’ve regained hold of the game. Finally, Erik Karlsson is really good at hockey, man that dangle was something.

Third Period

18:47: Well, that was almost a weird way to score! Hutton is able to get back and make the save

16;12: Labanc with a pass to spring Pavelski on a breakaway but is unable to beat Hutton

15:06: GOAL! Couture gets his second of the game and it’s 3-1 Sharks!

14:15: Another 2-on-1 but one again, Hutton is stop the puck

12:30: Labanc dangles but beat cannot beat Hutton

10:49: Jones with a key save to keep Buffalo from scoring!

10:19: The Sharks kill another penalty, they’re perfect so far tonight

8:18: Sharks head back to the power play as they hoping to increase the lead

8:11: GOAL! Can we keep this power play form going please?!

7:09: Sharks head back on the power play!

5:08: The Sharks were unable to score on the power play

3:31: Jones again making a key save despite having a three goal cushion

2:18: Sabres have an empty net

1:47: GOAL! Empty netter and a hat-trick goal for Couture

Final Score: Sharks 5, Sabres 1