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Sharks win back to back games
SJ wins in Buffalo for the first time in a decade
11/14/15 - By Mike Lee -

Celebrating their 25th season as a member of the NHL, the Sharks held the distinction of winning only once in Buffalo over the course of their history. That changed on Saturday night as they overcame a late Ryan O'Reilly goal in the 3rd period to take a 2-1 win in overtime. Mired in the distraction of the trade rumors that have been circulating all week, Patrick Marleau scored the game winner, giving San Jose their first win under the league's new 3-on-3 overtime format.

The win came on the heels of their 3-2 victory in Detroit less than 24 hours earlier, and gives the team their first back-to-back wins in almost a month. Their 2-1 shootout win in New Jersey ended the 4-game winning streak that opened the season and marked the end to any consistency in the win column.

Marleau has suffered through many of the losses that San Jose has had to endure in Western New York at the hands of the Sabres over his career. The last time the Sharks won in Buffalo was 10 years ago, on the eve of Joe Thornton's acquisition from Boston. Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer leaned on Marleau late in the game, double-shifting him in the 3rd period, then throwing him out on the ice in the extra period with Tomas Hertl and Marc-Edouard Vlasic.

DeBoer's move in overtime paid dividends when a Hertl shot bounced off Sabres goaltender Chad Johnson, deflecting to Marleau on the left side. The Sharks winger scooped up the rebound and whipped the puck into a wide open net to end the contest.

The goal was Marleau's 5th of the season, but more importantly it provides the Sharks with some momentum at the start of a rough 6-game road trip. San Jose gets a day off on Sunday before flying to Boston, where they will take on the Bruins on Tuesday night.

San Jose had missed on a golden opportunity earlier in the overtime when Tommy Wingels led a 3-on-1 break after two Sabres players took each other out in the Sharks zone. Wingels carried the puck up the right side, but his indecisiveness allowed defenseman Josh Gorges to snuff out a pass by laying out on the ice.

The Sharks should be thanking Marleau after they let the Sabres tie the game in the 3rd period after O'Reilly stripped defenseman Paul Martin of the puck just inside the Sharks blueline and ripped a shot over goaltender Martin Jones' right shoulder.

The goal seemed inevitable given the Sharks lack of jump in the 3rd period. The Sabres held a 10-3 advantage in shots in the period before a Carlo Colaiacovo roughing penalty allowed San Jose to even things up on the power play.

Colaiacovo drew the penalty after he reacted to an open-ice hit on his linemate Zemgus Girgensons. Tommy Wingels lowered the boom on Girgensons, who seemed to slip before getting belted at the Sharks blueline. The Sabres centerman had to be helped off the ice, but did return later in the game.

Buffalo also lost Cody Franson who slid awkwardly into the end boards. Tyler Ennis also left after a check along the boards caught him high.

The Sharks just missed on the Colaiacovo power play when a Brent Burns shot squeezed through Johnson, but the puck hit the post. They missed on that chance, but San Jose broke a couple of bad trends earlier in the game on the mad advantage. Vlasic converted on the Sharks first man-advantage chance 1:48 into the game, after Jake McCabe was sent off for slashing Wingels. The Sharks defenseman ripped a shot from the left point that beat Johnson for the early 1-0 Sharks lead. Not only did it give the Sharks a power play goal, but it staked them to an early lead.

Neither of those things has come easy for San Jose lately. The Sharks rank last in the NHL on the power play with an anemic 11% conversion rate.

Game Notes:

Rookie Nikolay Goldobin was benched in the 3rd period after his lethargic play forced DeBoer's hand. A turnover late in the 2nd period was the last straw as the young Russian took notes for the remainder of the game once it resumed in the 3rd period. Marleau assumed Goldobin's duties on the 4th line, in addition to holding down center on the 2nd line.

Defenseman Mirco Mueller also sat the entire 3rd period. The Sharks have limited the youngster's play time as they try to build his confidence on the ice, following a rough rookie season last year.


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1 2 3 OT T
SJ 1 0 0 1 2
BUF 0 0 1 0 1
1st period - 1, SJ, Vlasic 2 (Pavelski, Burns), 1:48, (pp).
2nd period - None.
3rd period - 2, BUF, O'Reilly 5 (unassisted), 6:27.
Overtime - 3, SJ, Marleau 5 (Vlasic, Hertl), 2:59.
1st period - McCabe, BUF (slashing), 0:37; Bench, SJ (too many men), 8:26; Vlasic, SJ (tripping), 9:01; Pavelski, SJ (tripping), 18:24.
2nd period - Colaiacovo, BUF (hooking), 7:34.
3rd period - Colaiacovo, BUF (roughing), 14:35.
Overtime - None.
Shots Saves
SJ - Jones 31 30
BUF - Johnson 32 30
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 OT T
SJ 9 9 9 5 32
BUF 8 9 13 1 31
Power Play Conversion
SJ 1 of 3
BUF 0 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Ryan O'Reilly
Patrick Marleau
Martin Jones
Referees: Dwyer, Skilliter. Linesmen: Driscoll, Nowak.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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