You have to hand it to the Sharks, despite falling 3-2 in overtime to the red-hot Buffalo Sabres Tuesday. They didn’t just rebound from their loss to Vegas over the weekend. They made things interesting and had viewers on the edges of their seats.
San Jose put up a magnificent fight against a Sabres team in search of their 10th-straight victory. While down two goals in the third period, Sharks captain Joe Pavelski led the charge to force the contest into sudden death in overtime. In the end, the Sharks got a point despite Jeff Skinner notching the overtime winner to give Buffalo a 3-2 victory.
Here are three takeaways from Tuesday’s game:
Attention to detail was significantly better
One of the biggest keys to Tuesday’s game in Buffalo for the Sharks was to have a better start than they did in Vegas on Saturday night. They were a much more dominant product through the majority of the contest, as they played a more cautious, detailed game. Against a fast Sabres team, San Jose didn’t try to cheat or force themselves into letting Buffalo dictate the pace.
It was obvious then, when the Sharks gave the Sabres just a little bit of room, because it ended up in the back of their net. On Rasmus Ristolainen’s second period goal, for example, Brent Burns slowed down ever so slightly. But it was just enough for the Sabres’ defenseman to skate around him and beat Martin Jones up high.
Speaking of which…
Martin Jones made a fantastic return
You really have to hand it to Jones. In his first start in a week, the Sharks' goalie made some killer saves as Buffalo challenged him. Even when the Sabres turned up the heat in the second period and began to push back. And that save on Zach Bogosian halfway through the third frame? Absolutely insane.
Both regulation goals that got by him are prime examples of what happens when there’s a hiccup in the Sharks’ defense in-front of him. Like on Nathan Beaulieu’s third-period goal, when the Sabres’ blueliner was left alone at the doorstep while the Sharks had their focus on Sam Reinhart -- who, in turn, set up the Sabres’ second goal on the evening.
There are more road goals on the horizon
Yes, fans are no doubt frustrated the Sharks haven’t been finding the back of the net on the road. You also have to give Carter Hutton credit. The Sabres’ netminder was absolutely stellar on Tuesday night, making some unhuman saves against San Jose. (His most devastating stops were no doubt on Marcus Sorensen in the first 40 minutes.)
But as Joe Pavelski’s third period markers showed, the Sharks are grinding and creating grade-A chances. It’s only a matter of time before more of those pucks make it through. Their performance on Tuesday, especially in that exciting third period, showed they’re identifying what makes them successful on the road. Even with steep competition coming up next on the schedule, we’re seeing San Jose correct their mistakes and create more opportunities to score away from home.