For those of you that missed last night’s game between the San Jose Sharks and the Buffalo Sabres, Quick Bites is a great way for you to catch some of the highlights you missed last night and see some of the big story lines.
The Third Period
We’ll start here because this is where a majority of the action took place. San Jose started the third with part of a power play and they took advantage. Tomas Hertl scored his third of the season with helpers from Erik Karlsson and Logan Couture and it was all tied up at two apiece.
But Jeff Skinner wasn’t having it and less than two minutes later, he scored to take the lead back for the Sabres. It was a goal Martin Jones really couldn’t do anything about.
San Jose didn’t get down though, instead they bit back. Marcus Sorensen scored his second of the season 32 seconds later and it was all tied up at three.
But the tie-breaker went to the Sabres. Zemgus Girgensons scored at the 12:15 mark of the third period and the fourth goal for the Sabres would be the game winner.
Despite a chaotic final minute with Jones out of the net and six skaters on for the Sharks, San Jose was unable to tie things up and the Sabres claimed the win with a 4-3 final score.
Chasing the Game
The third period really encapsulated the entire game for the Sharks. They never had the lead and were constantly trying to tie things up. Every time they managed to tie it up, Buffalo had the answer. It’s tough to win if you’re never ahead.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words and this one from Natural Stat Trick tells the story.
All of the Sabres’ goals were scored right in front of Jones and during 5-on-5 play. Meanwhile, the Sharks only scored one even-strength goal last night. It’s not the best recipe for success.
Martin Jones finished the night with 31 saves and a .886 save percentage. Jones’ numbers weren’t amazing last night, but he wasn’t as bad as the numbers show. There were a few times that he was asked to make a second and third stop in the matter of seconds and he did. And honestly that third goal the Sabres scored wasn’t his fault at all.
I will say though the first one of the game, he probably should have stopped.
OMG, Erik Karlsson is back
EK65 missed the first game of the season and took a few more games to get into the swing of things, but wow, he looks good. The Sharks played with speed last night and a large part of that was due to Karlsson’s ability to send the forwards on the rush. He was making break out passes and taking the puck into the zone all by himself when he needed to. Karlsson’s skill led to a number of scoring chances for the Sharks.
He was also big defensively. A 2-on-1 that turned into a 3-on-1 late in the third was stopped when Karlsson got in the way of the pass. The defensive effort kept the Sharks within a goal of the Sabres.
It was a goal, but then it wasn’t, but then it was ...
Toward the end of the second period, the Sabres’ Casey Mittelstadt deflected the puck, tipping it off the crossbar and into the net.
On the ice, the ref pointed to the goal and the Sabres celebrated.
Then, the referees huddled. They talked it over and decided that Mittelstadt’s stick was above the crossbar when he tipped the puck and it was no goal.
The Sabres’ bench wasn’t having it and told the refs to check the tape. They did and when they came back, it was a goal again.
Turns out Mittelstadt’s stick was just below the crossbar when he touched the puck and it was a good goal.
Welcome to the NHL, Noah Gregor
And finally, a story I always love seeing, when a kid gets the chance to realize his dream. Last night Noah Gregor made his NHL debut. The 21-year-old finished the night a minus-1 with 7:31 of ice time in 11 shifts.
Even though he didn’t make it on the scoreboard, his parents were there to see his dream come true.
Noah’s uncle, Jason Gregor, is a pro hockey writer who covers the Edmonton Oilers. He was so proud, he tweeted throughout the night:
Pumped my nephew @n_gregs20 will make his NHL debut tonight for the Sharks. Pete Deboer just announced it. And huge thanks to @KKurzNHL with a very classy gesture. Sent me pics from morning skate. His parents are flying to SJ now so a nice keep sake for them. Thanks Kev. pic.twitter.com/GalliFC7wT— Jason Gregor (@JasonGregor) October 19, 2019