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Good enough to lose in Buffalo
Sharks comeback late, only to lose in overtime
11/27/18 - By Mike Lee -

The Sharks are solidifying their position as a mediocre hockey team. Win one, lose one is the theme through the first 25 games this season. They followed up their 6-0 tail whipping by the Vegas Golden Knights by dropping a 3-2 overtime defenseman to the red hot Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night. The Sharks were 9 minutes from getting shutout for a second straight game, but late heroics by Joe Pavelski salvaged a point in the standings for the ho-hum Sharks.

Pavelski delivered late, but the Sharks couldn't stop a Sabres team that won for the 10th consecutive time. Buffalo has rebuilt a roster after purging high priced players last year, including Evander Kane, who played a big part in San Jose's loss.

The former Sabre forward missed on a would be goal with 90 seconds in regulation, which would have put the Sharks up 3-2. Instead, he missed on the chance when former Sharks goaltending prospect Carter Hutton denied a backhand chance from in tight.

Kane factored into the game winner, but it was the Sabres that scored the winner, not San Jose. In the overtime period, with the Sabres cycling in the Sharks zone, Johan Larsson tried shooting a puck on Martin Jones. The sharks netminder decided to poke check the puck off of Larsson's stick, but that left him 8 feet beyond the top of the crease.

Jeff Skinner collected the loose puck as Kane floated near the right dot, watching the Sabres forward skate in on net and deek around Jones to the right before lifting the last goal of the game into the Sharks net.

Kane simply quit playing defense. With three Sabres already below the dots, he gave up on the play and that was all she wrote. It wasn't the type of effort that you'd expect from a guy that was shipped out of town last spring.

San Jose had the majority of shots and scoring chances in the 1st period, but neither Martin Jones or former Sharks prospect Carter Hutton allowed a goal. San Jose out-shot the Sabres 13-7 in the period, but Hutton played solid positional hockey and never allowed the Sharks to generate any serious chances.

Rasmus Ristolainen finally cracked the scoring open when he raced around Brent Burns on the left side and lifted a puck over Jones' left shoulder for his 3rd goal of the season. Joakim Ryan converged on Ristolainen as he cut toward the net, but his weak stick check attempt was late. Ryan would have been better served to try and take the body, but the Sharks fancy themselves a no-check team, and Ristolainen was left uncontested to work his magic with the puck.

Rasmus Dahlin setup the Sharks by tripping Joonas Donskoi early in the 3rd period, but the Sharks power play was its typical anemic showing of an NHL special teams unit. The Sharks did little to even generate any interest from Hutton.

That wasted chance bit San Jose moments after Dahlin stepped back on the ice when Nathan Beaulieu bagged his 3rd goal of the season at 4:14. Beaulieu slipped past Logan Couture on the left side and tapped home a cross ice feed from Sam Reinhart as Couture figured out he was beat and was left flailing into the end boards as the Sabres grabbed the 2-0 lead.

Skating 4-on-4, Joe Pavelski cut the Sabres lead in half at 11:29 by rifling a one time chance from the bottom of the left circle. Burns sent a 90-foot pass from the right point to the Sharks captain, who converted for his 14th goal of the season.

Evan Rodrigues helped things for San Jose by taking a hooking penalty at 15:38. Pavelski converted after Couture chipped the puck off the end boards as his linemate swept around the back of the net from right to left. Pavelski gathered the puck behind the net and tucked a wrap around chance between Hutton's right skate and the left post to tie the game with 3:18 left to play in regulation.

Kane's miss in regulation was the last chance for San Jose to pull out the win. They would not record a shot on net in the overtime period.

Game Notes:

* San Jose will have zero down time as they play the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday night. The Sharks will also play back to back games on Saturday and Sunday.

* Joe Pavelski led all skaters with 7 shots on net. Logan Couture chipped in 5 shots.

* Tomas Hertl was 18 for 25 from the faceoff circle for an impressive 72% win percentage.

* Two of the Sabres three goals were scored by defensemen. With Brent Burns and Erick Karlsson on the roster, San Jose's offensive minded forwards were upstaged by the young Buffalo defensive corps.

* One of the big differences between the two rosters, is the age of each team's players. San Jose is a veteran group that's a lot longer in the tooth than the no-name Sabres. That youth also translated into faster legs, which continues to cause problems for San Jose.


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1 2 3 OT T
SJ 0 0 2 0 2
BUF 0 1 1 1 3
1st period - None.
2nd period - 1, BUF, Ristolainen 3 (Thompson, Okposo), 14:42.
3rd period - 2, BUF, Beaulieu 3 (Reinhart, Nelson), 4:14. 3, SJ, Pavelski 14 (Burns, Meier), 11:29. 4, SJ, Pavelski 15 (Couture, Labanc), 16:42.
Overtime - 5, BUF, Skinner 19 (unassisted), 1:41.
1st period - None.
2nd period - Rodrigues, BUF (tripping), 1:23; Dillon, SJ (tripping), 9:44.
3rd period - Dahlin, BUF (tripping), 1:35; Thornton, SJ (cross checking), 9:49; Larsson, BUF (slashing), 9:49; Rodrigues, BUF (hooking), 15:38.
Overtime - None.
Shots Saves
SJ - Jones 31 28
BUF - Hutton 38 36
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 OT T
SJ 13 8 17 0 38
BUF 7 9 12 3 31
Power Play Conversion
SJ 1 of 3
BUF 0 of 1
3 Stars of the Game
Rasmus Ristolainen
Jeff Skinner
Joe Pavelski
KeyBank Center- 19,070
Referees: Anderson, O'Halloran. Linesmen: Shewchyk, Daisy.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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