Support this community by becoming a Sponsor
  HOSER of the WEEK
  Contact Us
  Meet the Staff
  Join the Team
  Our Sponsors

Sharks revert to bad habits
Sharks help extend Miller's shutout streak
3/1/12 - By Mike Lee -

By all appearances, the Sharks looked as if they played a decent game on Thursday night. The truth is, they didn't. Look past the 39 shots they threw at Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller. If you're using shots as a measuring stick, the Sharks would be Stanley Cup Champions. They don't and as a result, the Sharks are looking up at the Phoenix Coyotes for the conference lead. San Jose played 40 minutes of lifeless hockey, then were forced to exert themselves in the 3rd period in an effort to catch the Sabres who held a 1-0 lead. All the scrambling proved fruitless as the Sharks fell for the 10th time in their last 15 games.

Miller turned in his 2nd consecutive shutout, and by all other accounts, it will sound like Miller turned in one of the ages. What the box score won't tell you is that San Jose tried to beat Miller with a number of unscreened, long-range shots that the Sabres handled with ease.

The fact of the matter is, the Sharks didn't really challenge Miller. Few black jerseys parked themselves in front of the Sabres crease, so Miller had nothing to obstruct his view. When facing a 40-foot shot, any goaltender has all day to setup. Do that against a guy like Miller and you're just wasting energy.

"It's tough to play back-to-back and especially when you have to bounce into San Jose," said the Sabres netminder. " I knew we would probably be a little bit tired and thought it was great job by our guys to show some fight in the first period there. [We got] a lead and we could battle from there."

The Sharks opened the game with little commitment and generated nothing in terms of quality scoring chances. The opening 20 minutes felt like any of the losses on the recent 9-game road trip. It lacked energy, urgency and effort.

All that was missing was the one mistake that would cost the Sharks. That would come with 69 seconds remaining in the opening period.

Brent Burns tried to split three Sabres in the neutral zone, which was picked off by Tyler Ennis at the Sabres blueline. Ennis sprinted up ice, drawing two defenders his way before dropping the puck to Drew Stafford. Stafford ripped a shot that beat Antti Niemi to the top left corner.

That was all the scoring Buffalo would need.

" It was just, a mistake ended up in our net," said Ryane Clowe. "We had probably a couple of turnovers too many but the second period we competed harder and the third period … you know that's what happens with teams on back-to-back games and their up a goal. You're going to get back on your heels a little, that's just how it works. We poured it on, couldn't score, but I really liked our game, for sticking with it tonight, that's important. I mean we gave up one goal in two games we should have two wins in that case but … just find a way to score."

San Jose floundered through the 2nd period, throwing 11 meaningless shots at Miller. Joe Thornton missed on a chance with the puck perched between Miller's pads late in the period, but a cross check across Thornton's hands prevented him from getting his stick on an rubber.

Not until the 3rd period would they kick things into gear, but Miller was locked in and seemed destined to knock off San Jose. That's nothing new for Miller, who has won his last 4 starts against the Sharks.

San Jose put 17 shots on net in the period, but everything seemed to hit Miller in the chest. Still the Sharks refused to put any bodies in front of Miller. Without any distractions, Miller locked in on the puck and snuffed out any thoughts of a goal.

The Sabres let the Sharks try and poke holes in their defense, but even after San Jose was forced to pull Niemi, they were up to the task. The Sharks got the puck to the Buffal o zone, but did little with it once they were there.

"It's a 1-0 game so it's a pretty tight game," said Thornton. " I thought we had the better of the chances tonight just for whatever reason we couldn't score."

Game Notes:

Sharks head coach Todd McLellan missed his second straight game due to the concussion symptoms that he continues to experience. Dominic Moore made his home debut for San Jose, recording 2 shots on 20 shifts. Moore skated on a line with Daniel Winnik and Torrey Mitchell.


What did you think of this article? Post your comments on the Feeder Forums

What did you think of this story? Post your comments on the
Feeder Forums
1 2 3 T
BUF 1 0 0 1
SJ 0 0 0 0
1st period - 1, BUF, Stafford 13 (Ennis), 18:51.
2nd period - None.
3rd period - None.
1st period - Winchester, SJ (elbowing), 11:23.
2nd period - Winnik, SJ (high sticking), 10:54; Leino, BUF (holding), 17:27.
3rd period - Myers, BUF (cross checking), 8:33; Vlasic, SJ (high sticking), 15:23.
Shots Saves
BUF - Miller 39 39
SJ - Niemi 19 18
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
BUF 10 11 5 19
SJ 11 4 17 39
Power Play Conversion
BUF 0 of 3
SJ 0 of 2
3 Stars of the Game
Ryan Miller
Drew Stafford
Antti Niemi
Referees: Lee, Walsh. Linesmen: Miller, Murphy.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

Privacy Statement   |   Contact Us   |   Advertise
Copyright 1997-2018 All rights reserved.
This website is an unofficial and independently operated source of news
and information not affiliated with the San Jose Sharks, any team, or league.