Programming note – Sharks-Sabres coverage starts today at 7:00 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on CSN California
WHERE THEY STAND
Sharks: 41-20-7, 89 points, 1st Pacific Division
Sabres: 28-29-12, 68 points, 7th Atlantic Division
PREGAME NEWS AND NOTES
***The Sharks have been very good this season against lesser competition; when facing teams that aren’t currently in playoff position, they are 24-4-6. But on Feb. 7 in Buffalo, against a team that will miss the postseason once again, the Sharks saw a 4-1 third period lead dissolve into a 5-4 overtime loss.
“We played two periods about as well as you can play, and a third period about as poorly as you can play,” coach Pete DeBoer said. “This team, for whatever reason, seems to have our number and has over the years. So, we’ve got to get past that.”
Marc-Edouard Vlasic recalled: “We gave too many odd-man rushes, and they’ll make you pay.”
Buffalo has won five in a row against the Sharks, and is 10-0-1 in the last 11. San Jose’s last regulation win was on Jan. 23, 2010.
The Sabres snapped a four-game losing streak on Saturday against Columbus, winning 5-3. They are 2-6-2 in their last 10.
***The Sharks’ lineup appears unchanged from Sunday, other than goalie Martin Jones returning to the net. David Schlemko and Melker Karlsson are still recovering from lower body injuries.
“Schlemko a lot closer. Karlsson a little bit closer, but still not available,” DeBoer said.
Rookie Marcus Sorensen will remain in the lineup, after he notched an assist against the Stars.
***The Sharks are 2-1-0 on their season-long six-game homestand, which continues with the Blues on Thursday and Ducks on Saturday. They are 22-8-4 on home ice, while Buffalo is 11-17-6 on the road.
KEEP AN EYE ON...
Sharks: Joel Ward. The veteran winger was promoted to the second line late in Saturday’s loss to Nashville and remained there on Sunday, posting a key early second period goal that deflated the Stars in San Jose’s comfortable win. Ward made the most of his chance to start in a top six role for the first time since Dec. 13 in Toronto.
Sabres: Ryan O’Reilly. The Sabres’ second leading scorer with 46 points (16g, 30a), O’Reilly has 11 points (4g, 7a) in his last 12 games against the Sharks. In his last seven games, he’s tallied three goals and five assists for eight points, with 20 shots on goal over that span.
Jannik Hansen – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Patrick Marleau – Logan Couture – Joel Ward
Joonas Donskoi – Tomas Hertl – Mikkel Boedker
Micheal Haley – Chris Tierney – Marcus Sorensen
Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon – Dylan DeMelo
Martin Jones (starter)
Evander Kane – Ryan O’Reilly – Justin Bailey
Matt Moulson – Jack Eichel – Sam Reinhart
Marcus Foligno – Zemgus Girgensons – Brian Gionta
Nic Deslauriers – Evan Rodrigues – Tyler Ennis
Jake McCabe – Rasmus Ristolainen
Justin Faulk – Zach Bogosian
Josh Gorges – Cody Franson
Sharks: David Schlemko (lower body) and Melker Karlsson (lower body) are out.
Sabres: Kyle Okposo (ribs) is day-to-day. Dmitry Kulikov (upper body), Johan Larsson (dislocated wrist) and William Carrier (knee) are out.
“We’re happy with where we are. We still want to catch a couple teams, but we want to make sure our game is going in the right direction heading into playoffs.” – Marc-Edouard Vlasic