The San Jose Sharks fell to the Buffalo Sabres by the final score of 4-2 in the second night of a back-to-back. This Buffalo win makes it a 2-0 sweep for the Sabres in the season series.
This Buffalo win comes just hours after they traded away starting goaltender Ryan Miller and captain Steve Ott to the St. Louis Blues making them a serious Stanley Cup contender. Also, due to the trade, Jhonas Enroth started in net and looked good stopping 38 of 40 shots. His toughest period was the second where he only allowed one goal while facing 18 shots. Compare that to the third where the San Jose Sharks were only able to get seven shots on net.
Perhaps it was a case of the Sharks not quite back into the groove, but either way that is not much of an excuse considering this is Buffalo’s third game since the Olympic break. If anything, the Sharks should have been the fresher team.
For Antti Niemi it was another so-so game. He looked good at times, but also let in a goal which looked pretty stoppable including the Sabre’s first goal of the game which came from Cody Hodgson on the power play. Niemi actually got a piece of the shot which went short-side on from about the faceoff dot, but did not get enough to keep it out of the net.
It wasn’t all his fault though, as the defense was not nearly as strong tonight was they were last night. In particular the fourth line comprised of Tommy Wingels, Tyler Kennedy, and Adam Burish were on the ice for Buffalo’s second and third goals in the third period. The first one, which came about five minutes into the period, was on what looked like confusion on the faceoff. Buffalo proceeded to win the faceoff and Brian Flynn fired a shot through lots of legs and it found the back of the net.
The second goal that line allowed, on their very next shift, came after a failure to get the puck out of the zone. With the puck at the point Burish tried to track defenseman Tyler Myers down but instead overcommited and was deked by Myers who headed to the net, found an open teammate in the slot, and just like that it was a 3-1 Sabres lead with both goals coming just three minutes apart.
Down 3-1, the Sharks were for the most part unable to mount much of an attack until Niemi was pulled with under two minutes left in the game. Patrick Marleau was the beneficiary of some great puck movement and a nice pass from Joe Thornton as he one-timed a shot from right in front of the net by Enroth.
After that the Sharks would get a couple more offensive one draws with an empty net, but would come out with nothing while Myers capped a great night with an empty-net goal with 20.7 seconds left to make it 4-2.
In his post-game interview Todd McLellan stressed the failure of the San Jose Sharks to pay attention to the little details of the game, and hopefully they get it going again against the always defensively sound New Jersey Devils on Sunday. He also did not say who would start in goal, and I would not be surprised if we saw Alex Stalock back in net.
GGS 3 Stars
1. Jhonas Enroth (38 saves)
2. Tyler Myers (1 goal, 2 assists)
3. Brian Flynn (1 goal)