The Morning After: Yes, the Sharks won in Buffalo
It wasn't a dream, nor was it an illusion. San Jose won a hockey game in Buffalo.
I couldn't tell you where I was on Dec. 2, 2005. As a freshman in high school at the time, I can almost guarantee it was nothing interesting. The Sharks won in Buffalo that night. They waited nearly 10 years before winning in upstate New York again.
Saturday's win was weirdly cathartic not just because the Sharks finally beat what has been a bad Buffalo team in their own building for the first time in a decade. San Jose won both halves of a back-to-back, both of which were started by Martin Jones. It's not an advisable strategy, but it worked out for the Sharks and helped lift Jones' save percentage back up to a pretty darn respectable level.
After being bossed in the possession game by Detroit on Friday, it was nice to see the Sharks put forth a pretty even effort against the Sabres. Yeah, the Sabres might not be a playoff team this year (though in the east, who knows) but San Jose played a relatively even game despite fatigue setting in late on.
Throw in the Sharks excellent work on the power play (okay, excluding the absolutely abysmal second go at the man-advantage) and San Jose's numbers are even better. Speaking of the power play — it managed to score a goal! We haven't had a chance to say that enough this year, despite (in my opinion) it mostly looking pretty solid (averageish).
A Vlasic power-play goal is like some kind of extremely rare unicorn. Cherish this. And in the Sharks second go at 3-on-3 overtime we actually avoided the shootout — and while doing so, Patrick "Trade me to the Kings" Marleau picked up his 998th point as a Shark.
Speaking of milestones, that Vlasic goal came with an assist from Joe Pavelski. That lifted Little Joe to 500 career points.
It was also the Sharks second win in a row — something I haven't been able to write since the four-game winning streak that opened the season. They can actually try to put a streak together (on the road, even!) on Tuesday against the woeful Boston Bruins.
So in a building that has offered little in the way of good feelings, the Sharks managed to bring on a deluge of feel-good (if a bit nervous at times) hockey. If you expected that, you can't have been a Sharks fan for all that long. That, or you've discovered a secret ore of optimism in your chest-clock thing. Either way, great start to the road trip for team teal.