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Sharks learn from past mistakes
SJ holds on to 4-1 lead against Buffalo
3/14/17 - By Mike Lee -

The Sharks played the Buffalo Sabres on February 7th and grabbed a 4-1 lead in the 3rd period, only to squander it and eventually lose 5-4 in overtime. Call Tuesday night in San Jose their do-over. The Sharks scored a pair of goals in the 3rd period to grab establish another 4-1 lead, but they learned from their error of the past by clamping down on the Sabres to win by that score before 17,386 at SAP Center.

Joe Pavelski scored a pair of goals and Martin Jones made 21 saves to help the Sharks extend their winning streak to two games. Buffalo goaltender Robin Lehner was subjected to a shelling all night, but made 37 saves in a valiant effort.

Lehner looked as if he could steal a win for the Sabres who were out-shot 20-9 in the opening period, but held a 1-0 lead at the end of the 1st period. Buffalo scored their lone goal 70 seconds into the game after the Sharks defense overplayed the puck, leaving Jack Eichel unattended in front of the net.

The Sabres forced the puck in to the left corner, where Matt Moulson drew a pair of defenders. The Sabres winger had a pair pf targets to choose from, but found Eichel who was lurking just outside the right post. Without a teal jersey within 30 feet of him, Eichel received Moulson's pass and took his time picking a corner against Jones.

San Jose appeared to tie the game later in the period when Marcus Sorensen followed up on a Brent Burns shot, depositing the rebound from the right side. The goal was waved off after Burns was called for interfering with Lehner.

San Jose challenged the call and promptly lost their timeout for their effort after the call was upheld. It was a questionable decision given the subjective nature of the call. Luckily for San Jose, the need for a timeout never came into play.

Justin Falk's holding penalty at 10:57 of the 2nd period was the third and final infraction committed by the Sabres, but it served as the lynch pin for San Jose's scoring outburst. Pavelski converted on the power play with a shot from the slot after Logan Couture fed him from the right corner. The Sharks shifted their approach on the power play, choosing to park a pair of skaters in the shooting zone down low, rather than try to deflect shots from the point. The change paid off after they failed to convert on two chances earlier in the game.

Lehner would have made it to the 2nd intermission with a 1-1 tie after defending 34 of 35 shots, but a fluke play spoiled that and gave the Sharks the 2-1 lead with 50 seconds remaining in the middle period.

The Sharks worked the puck to the right corner when Micheal Haley tried to stab at the puck as Eichel appeared to have it ready to skate out of the zone. The puck clipped Eichel's stick, then deflected off his skate before trickling between Lehner's pads and into the net. Lehner was either slow to react to the puck or thought it was going to slide wide of the left post, but to no avail. Haley was credited with the unassisted goal, which turned out to be his 2nd tally of the season.

Pavelski made it 3-1 at 5:28 of the 3rd period after slamming home a big rebound from the left side. Dylan DeMelo fired a host from the right point, hitting Jannick Hansen in the posterior and essentially banking it off the Shark's trade deadline acquisition. Pavelski was in perfect position to one-time the rebound as he swooped in from the left wing.

Logan Couture capped the scoring 9 minutes later when both he and Lehner tried to get their sticks on a loose puck in the area between the left circle and the goal. The puck flipped up into the air, vaulting Lehner and landing in the crease and bouncing into the net for Couture's 24th goal of the season.

San Jose took better care of the puck this time around, limiting the Sabres to 9 shots in the period and 23 in the game to prevent a meltdown like the one in February when the two teams faced off in Western New York.

Game Notes:

* Justin Braun was flattened with cross check on the first shift of the and immediately headed to the locker room for repairs. He would return and gritted out the rest of the game.

* Braun took the only penalty of the game for San Jose. Buffalo leads the NHL with the top ranked power play, but was limited to the one chance with the man advantage.

* Chris Tierney was 11-for-14 on the faceoff, winning 79% of hi draws. The Sharks were a collective 33-for-57 (58%).

* Patrick Marleau was the only Sharks skater who did not record a shot on goal in the game.


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1 2 3 T
BUF 1 0 0 1
SJ 0 2 2 4
1st period - 1, BUF, Eichel 20 (Moulson, Gorges), 1:10.
2nd period - 2, SJ, Pavelski 27 (Couture, Thornton), 11:47, (pp). 3, SJ, Haley 2 (unassisted), 19:10.
3rd period - 4, SJ, Pavelski 28 (Demelo, Thornton), 5:28. 5, SJ, Couture 24 (Ward, Marleau), 14:57.
1st period - Ennis, BUF (tripping), 7:56.
2nd period - Franson, BUF (holding), 4:52; Falk, BUF (holding), 10:57; Braun, SJ (holding), 13:14.
3rd period - None.
Shots Saves
BUF - Lehner 41 37
SJ - Jones 23 22
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
BUF 9 5 9 23
SJ 20 16 5 41
Power Play Conversion
BUF 0 of 1
SJ 1 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Joe Pavelski
Joe Thornton
Micheal Haley
SAP Center - 17,386
Referees: Kowal, L'Ecuyer. Linesmen: Heyer, Murchison.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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