Spotty defense, puck management costs Sharks in loss to Sabres

SAN JOSE – A fast start by the San Jose Sharks was undone by defensive breakdowns and some questionable puck management Saturday as the Buffalo Sabres scored five unanswered goals to help earn a 5-2 win at SAP Center.

The Sharks, looking for their fourth straight win, led 2-0 by the 10:42 mark of the first period on goals by Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Jan Rutta.

But the Sabres answered with two goals with two goals at the end of the first period, one in the second and two in the third periods as they won for the fourth time in six games and swept the season series with San Jose.

William Eklund assisted on both of the Sharks goals and was moved up from the third line to the top line for the third period. But San Jose went 0-for-2 on the power play as it lost in regulation for the first time since Jan. 13 when they were beaten 3-0 by the Sabres at KeyBank Center.

Vlasic and Rutta scored 2:36 apart in the first period to give the Sharks a 2-0 lead.

Vlasic scored his third of the season at the 8:06 mark as he collected a loose puck near the side boards to the right of the Sabres’ net and fired a shot that got past goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen.

Rutta then collected a pass from Eklund after an effective forecheck and sent a shot from just inside the blue line that eluded Luukkonen, as he extended his points streak to a career-high four games, with two goals and three assists in that time.

The Sabres, though, took advantage of some Sharks miscues to even the score and later take the lead for good. Sharks goalie Kaapo Kahkonen finished with 31 saves, but wasn’t always helped out by the skaters in front of him.

Trailing 2-1, the Sabres won a puck battle along the boards inside the Sharks’ zone before a breakdown in front led to a Jordan Greenway goal at the 18:01 mark of the first period.

Nico Sturm had the puck knocked off his stick inside the Sharks’ zone early in the second period, leading to a goal from Alex Tuch that broke a 2-2 tie.

With the Sharks then trailing 3-2, a shot from the point by Nikita Okhotiuk went wide, springing the Sabres to an odd-man rush, finished by JJ Peterka at the 4:33 mark of the third period.

(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *