The Sharks were, of course, not pleased they weren’t able to snap the Sabres' winning streak during their visit to Buffalo. The team acknowledged afterwards that the game had some positives. Heck, rallying to tie it up late in the third period certainly made things interesting -- especially since San Jose hadn’t scored a goal on the road in 183:43 minutes.
Now, after falling to the Sabres 3-2 in overtime, the Sharks identify they need to not just create good scoring chances, but follow through and capitalize on them.
“I thought there were some chances we didn’t capitalize on early,” Evander Kane told the media after the loss, then added: “But it was a great effort to come back and tie the game and give ourselves a shot.”
Brent Burns agreed. “I think we had some chances,” the defenseman said. “[Buffalo] just ended up with one more.”
It literally was just one more chance that made the difference in Tuesday’s contest. San Jose and Buffalo played a tight back-and-forth game for the better part of 60 minutes, with the Sabres making more of a push in the second period and the Sharks responding in the latter part of the third. Buffalo kept up with San Jose on the shot clock, only being outdone 38-31 by the end of the game. The Sharks blocked seven shots to the Sabres' five and won 55 percent of the faceoffs on the evening. With both goaltenders making big saves at their respective ends of the ice, neither team was able to run away with the game.
“It felt like there was not a lot out there for both sides,” Burns observed.
It was that one opportunity though, created by Buffalo’s Jeff Skinner in overtime, that gave the Sabres the victory.
Not that San Jose is going to completely dismiss their late-game push, or neglect applauding finding the back of the net after previously having trouble scoring on the road. Joe Pavelski notching both of San Jose’s third period markers certainly helped give the Sharks a boost.
“There are obviously going to be times where goals are tough to come by,” San Jose netminder Martin Jones said. “So, to get a couple late in the game tonight and grab a point tonight was big.”
So, how do the Sharks improve on Tuesday’s effort?
“We need to do a little better job of getting a little more traffic in front of the net,” Kane said. “We had some good looks that we didn’t finish and that was unfortunate.”
The Sharks will get an immediate opportunity to capitalize on more chances, as they play again on Wednesday. While the competition will be steep – they’re playing the Maple Leafs in Toronto on the tail end of a back-to-back – the Sharks already know what they want to do better to improve on their game against the Sabres.