Quick Bite: Sharks win in Buffalo

The Curse of Buffalo is over.

Martin Jones had a strong performance in his second game in as many nights and Patrick Marleau scored in overtime as the Sharks won in Buffalo for the first time since Joe Thornton’s first game in teal.

The Sharks have been getting themselves into a lot of early holes of late, but in Buffalo, playing the second half of a back-to-back, they got off to a start that would have been near-perfect if not for a few too many penalties. The power play got an early opportunity just 37 seconds after puck drop when Jack McCabe was called for slashing Tommy Wingels, and Marc-Edouard Vlasic cashed in with a shot from the point at 1:48 that Chad Johnson never saw thanks to a textbook screen by Patrick Marleau.

The goal was Pickles’ second of the season and his first power play goal since January 21, 2010—coincidentally, two days before the Sharks last beat the Sabres. Joe Pavelski assisted on the goal for his 500th career point in his 660th career game.

The Sharks got into a bit of penalty trouble after the goal, with Hertl going to the box for a too many men penalty at 8:26 and Vlasic joining him just 35 seconds later for tripping Ryan O’Reilly. The Sabres managed to get three shots on net during the extended 5-on-3 power play, but Jones made the stops including a nice pad save on O’Reilly. Pavelski also took a penalty for tripping Jake McCabe at 18:24, but the Sharks made it out of the first period unscathed for the first time since the Joel Ward game on October 24.

In the second period, the Sharks looked like a team playing the second game of a back-to-back for long stretches, including a second power play opportunity that saw the puck spend more time in the Sharks’ zone than in the Sabres’. Jones stood tall, though, stopping all nine Buffalo shots he saw in the period.

The Sabres finally got a puck past Jones at 6:27 of the third when Ryan O’Reilly hammered one home to tie the game at 1. After that the Sharks played much of the period in hang-on-for-dear-life mode as the Sabres were all over them in the middle part of the frame. They’d get a third power play opportunity with 5:25 left in the game when Carlo Colaiacovo tackled Tommy Wingels after Wingels leveled Zemgus Girgensons in the neutral zone. The Sharks managed five shots on the man advantage and Brent Burns banged another one off the pipe, but they were unable to put one home, and the game went to overtime thanks to another great save by Jones on Jack Eichel in the dying seconds.

It was almost all Sharks in the bonus period. The wrecking crew of Thornton, Pavelski, and Burns set the tone on the first shift, and the Sharks fired shot after shot towards the Buffalo net. At 2:59, they finally got their second goal when Vlasic banged one off the post and Marleau knocked in the rebound to give the Sharks their first win over the Sabres in nearly five years and their first win at First Niagara Center in nearly ten. The Curse of Buffalo is over.

Sharks goals (assists): Marc-Edouard Vlasic (Joe Pavelski, Brent Burns), Patrick Marleau (Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Tomas Hertl)

[Fancy Stats] - [Sabres' Reaction] - [Event Summary] - [TOI Log] - [Faceoff Report] - [PBP Log]

Fear the Fin's Three Stars

1) Patrick Marleau

2) Martin Jones

3) Marc-Edouard Vlasic