Sabres take down the Sharks, 4-3

Zemgus Girgensons scores the game-winning goal in the third period

WGR 550
October 19, 2019 - 9:54 pm

Photo: Stan Szeto - USA TODAY Sports

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The Buffalo Sabres wrapped up their three-game California road trip on Saturday night with another win to maintain their spot atop the Eastern Conference standings.

The Sabres earned themselves a 4-3 win over the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center in San Jose, thanks to a late third period goal from forward Zemgus Girgensons, as well as a stellar 29-save performance from goalie Linus Ullmark.

Buffalo never trailed in this hockey game, starting with the game's opening goal from forward Marcus Johansson at the 12:10 mark of the first period. The goal started when defenseman Henri Jokiharju started an offensive rush from his own end into the San Jose zone. Jokiharju then left the puck back for Johansson, who found a way through goalie Martin Jones' five-hole to give the Sabres the 1-0 lead.

However, the Sabres ended up getting caught with too many men on the ice with 5:50 to go in the period, leading to San Jose's first chance to even the score. With just 10-seconds remaining in the power play, the Sharks got the tying goal from forward Timo Meier, who managed to fire a wrist shot over the left shoulder of Ullmark.

The pace was a pretty good one in the first period with the Sharks maybe having the slight advantage in time of possession, but the Sabres still managed to out-shoot San Jose, 10-8.

Things were relatively quiet in the second period until Casey Mittelstadt gave Buffalo its second lead of the night with less than three minutes to go in the period. Mittelstadt was able to get his stick on a rising Jokiharju shot from the point that re-directed the puck past Jones. Initially the goal was waved off by the officials for being batted down with a high stick, but after further review, the call was overturned and the goal was awarded.

The goal gave Mittelstadt his third goal in two games, and also gave the Sabres the 2-1 lead with time expiring in the second period.

Buffalo got itself into more penalty trouble late in the second that ended up carrying over into the third period. This time, it was Rasmus Dahlin who was penalized for tripping with 1:08 remaining in the period.

After failing to score at the end of the second period, the Sharks managed to net the tying goal with eight-seconds remaining in the man advantage. This time, it was a shot from defenseman Erik Karlsson that ended up re-directing off the stick of forward Tomas Hertl, going off the skate of Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen and in the back of the net.

It did not take the Sabres long to respond and re-take the lead as just 1:44 later, Jeff Skinner was able to put in a pinballing puck behind Jones, who had no idea where the puck was after the initial shot. The goal was Skinner's fifth goal of the 2019-20 campaign.

Just like the Sabres had done to take the 3-2 lead, the Sharks were quick to counter and tie the game at 3-3. This time, it was defenseman Brent Burns who put a shot on goal that ended up re-directing off the skate of forward Marcus Sorenson and through Ullmark for the goal.

The Sabres continued to pressure the Sharks after the Sorenson goal, and their hard work eventually paid off.

After Kyle Okposo forced a turnover in behind the Sharks net, the puck ended up coming straight to Johan Larsson, who put a shot towards the goal. After the initial shot went off Okposo's back in front, Girgensons followed up with the rebound and ended up lifting the puck over the glove of Jones and in to make it 4-3. The goal was Girgensons' first goal of the season.

The Sharks ended up pulling the goalie with about two minutes left in regulation, trying to get the game-tying goal to send the game into overtime. San Jose got some great quality chances in-tight as time ran out, but Ullmark slammed the door on the Sharks en route to a 29-save win for his second victory of the season.

 

GAME SUMMARY

 

Scoring Summary:

First Period:

BUF: 12:10 - Marcus Johansson (4) (Henri Jokiharju, Marco Scandella)
SJS: 16:00 - Timo Meier (2) PP (Joe Thornton, Erik Karlsson)

Second Period:

BUF: 17:03 - Casey Mittelstadt (3) (Henri Jokiharju, Jimmy Vesey)
SJS: NONE

Third Period:

BUF: 2:28 - Jeff Skinner (5) (Jake McCabe, Marcus Johansson); 12:15 - Zemgus Girgensons (1) (Kyle Okposo, Johan Larsson)
SJS: 0:44 - Tomas Hertl (3) PP (Erik Karlsson, Logan Couture); 2:50 - Marcus Sorenson (2) (Brent Burns, Dylan Gambrall)

 

Penalty Summary:

First Period:

BUF: 14:50 - Bench minor (Too many men on the ice - 2 min.); 19:20 - Johan Larsson (Slashing - 2 min.)
SJS: NONE

Second Period:

BUF: 12:14 - Kyle Okposo (Holding - 2 min.); 18:52 - Rasmus Dahlin (Tripping - 2 min.) 
SJS: 3:09 - Kevin LeBanc (Holding - 2 min.); 9:18 - Mario Ferraro (Tripping - 2 min.)

Third Period:

BUF: NONE
SJS: 6:24 - Patrick Marleau (Tripping - 2 min.); 13:41 - Brenden Dillon (Hooking - 2 min.)

 

Shots:

BUF: 35 (10, 11, 14)
SJS: 32 (8, 11, 13)
 

Goalies:

BUF: Linus Ullmark - 29 saves
SJS: Martin Jones - 31 saves
 

Power Plays:

BUF: 0-for-4 (0%)
SJS: 2-for-4 (50%)


Three Stars:

  1. Marcus Johansson (BUF)
  2. Jeff Skinner (BUF)
  3. Sam Reinhart (BUF)


What's next:

The Sabres return home for the second half of their home-and-home series with the Sharks on Tuesday night at KeyBank Center. Faceoff is set for 7 p.m. on WGR with the Paul William-Beltz Pre-Game Show set for 6 p.m. with Mike Schopp and the Bulldog at (716) Food and Sport.

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