The San Jose Sharks fell to the Buffalo Sabres 4-3 as they fought all the way to the finish. For the third straight game, San Jose found themselves in overtime where they fell once again.
The Sharks put 50-plus shots on net for the fourth time this season, but that masks their defensive and goaltending troubles that plagued them throughout this game. Antti Niemi struggled at times and would have given away a freebie if Brad Stuart had not been there to save the day by blocking a shot on an empty net. That is not to say the defense was great either, however, as they had trouble getting out of the zone and the team as a whole was getting lazy defensively.
This was billed as one of those games that could sneak up on the Sharks if they were not careful against one of the worst teams in the league and that is exactly what happened. At one point early on in the third period the Sharks found themselves down 3-1 before a strong third period forced overtime.
In order to get to that point the Sharks had to score three times in the final frame on goals from Tyler Kennedy, Tomas Hertl and Tommy Wingels.
Kennedy got the comeback started when he scored a on a rebound off an original shot by Joe Pavelski. He ended up picking up the primary assist.
Then, just one minute and 10 seconds later the Sharks tied the game at three apiece on Hert’s ninth goal of the season when he scored on a partial wrap-around goal that beat a sprawled out Ryan Miller of the Sabres.
After that goal the Sabres answered back and once again took the lead when San Jose had another defensive breakdown in their end. The puck then quickly ended up on the stick of Henrik Tallinder, who fired a puck that deflected off of Justin Braun’s skate and through Antti Niemi.
The Sharks were able to push for another game-tying goal, this time from Wingels who dove at a puck sitting in the goal crease and tapped the puck in to tie the game at four apiece. That goal would lead to overtime where the Sharks looked to have won it, but would eventually lose it.
In overtime the Sharks were pretty obviously robbed (on the replay anyway) when Wingels tapped a loose puck lying in front of Miller into the net and just beyond the goal line. However, Buffalo Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers came sliding in at the same time and ended up pulling the puck pack over the goal line before the official saw the puck had crossed the line. While it was a tough thing to see for on-ice officials, those in the war-room in Toronto should definitely have seen it.
Eventually in the shootout it was the Buffalo Sabres who took the victory on goals by Matt Moulson and Cody Hodgson who ended the game in round four.
GGS Three Stars
1. Cody Hogdson (game-winning shootout goal, 2 assists)
2. Tommy Wingels (1 goal, 3 hits)
3. Martin Havlat (1 goal, 1 assist)