The Buffalo Sabres will face the San Jose Sharks tonight at Key Bank Center. While the Sabres have had success in the past against the Sharks, they may be in tough tonight. San Jose was sitting in Buffalo last night, while the Sabres were in Newark facing the Devils. The Sharks have been off since Saturday and should have a lot of jump in their stride as they begin their final eastern road trip.
The Pacific Division leaders come into tonight red hot going 8-1-1 in their last ten games. They’re a deep team with big names who could give a tired Sabres defense fits tonight if they’re not positionally sound. Sharks also come into tonight with the third least goals allowed in the league with 121, while the Sabres have the fifth least scored with 126. A definite advantage for the visitors.
After a solid start to 2017, the Sabres come into tonight losers of four of their last five. February is a big month for the team and it hasn’t gone well so far. The saving grace for the club may be the heavy amount of home games where they’ve been successful lately. As the losses pile up though the possibility of getting into the playoff race seems unrealistic at this point. Tonight won’t be easy for the Sabres to get themselves back in the win column, but that’s why they play the game.
San Jose Sharks at Buffalo Sabres
Key Bank Center – 7:00 p.m. EST
Broadcast channels – MSG-B & CSN-CA
2016-17 Season Series: None
San Jose Sharks – 33-17-3 – 69 Points
Road Record: 15-10-1
Hot Players: Brent Burns, Patrick Marleau and Logan Couture
Key Injuries: Joonas Donskoi and Dylan DeMelo
Tomas Hertl – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Patrick Marleau – Logan Couture – Mikkel Boedker
Timo Meier – Chris Tierney – Joel Ward
Marcus Sorensen – Michael Haley – Melker Karlsson
Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon – David Schlemko
* Lines subject to change
Buffalo Sabres – 21-21-10 – 52 Points
Home Record: 12-8-4
Hot Players: Tyler Ennis and Robin Lehner
Key Injuries: Zach Bogosian and Johan Larsson
Marcus Foligno – Jack Eichel – Sam Reinhart
Kyle Okposo – Ryan O’Reilly – Matt Moulson
Evander Kane – Zemgus Girgensons – Brian Gionta
Tyler Ennis – Nic Deslauriers – Justin Bailey
Rasmus Ristolainen – Dmitry Kulikov
Jake McCabe – Cody Franson
Justin Falk – Josh Gorges
** Lines subject to change.
1) Anders Nilsson will be in goal for the Sabres in the second game of back to backs. The 26-year old has great numbers at home with a 6-1-1 record 1.84 goals against average and a .946 save percentage. The Sharks will counter with their number one goaltender in Martin Jones.
2) Over the past few years the Sabres have always seemed to have the Sharks numbers no matter the type of season either team is having. The Sabres are 8-0-1 in their last nine games against San Jose. They were actually on an eight-game winning streak before the Sharks snapped the streak with an overtime victory in Buffalo last season.
3) Brent Burns is the player to watch tonight for the Sharks. The 31-year old has 22 goals and 55 points in 53 games for his club this season. He’s deservedly in the conversation for both the Hart and Norris Trophy at the end of the season. The offense he provides from the blue line is impressive and he’s improved his defensive game as well.
4) Tyler Ennis may be starting to get his game back after returning from his hernia surgery. The 27-year old has two goals and four points in the nine games he’s played since the injury. However, he’s produced a point in three straight games. Ennis is becoming more of a factor in games now as he works to get himself fully back to 100 percent.
5) Patrick Marleau recently joined the 500 goal club. In the last year of his contract with the Sharks, the 37-year old is having a decent season with 19 goals and 30 points in 53 games. This may be his last season with the Sharks, but Marleau has done a lot for the franchise. At times he’s been overshadowed by the likes Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton and Burns. Marleau undoubtedly will go down as one of the best to wear a Sharks sweater when he decides to hang up his skates.