The Buffalo Sabres are still in full on tank mode, but have accomplished something that hasn't been seen in this area in a long time, back to back wins. The Sabres won back to back games just twice last year and it took until games 34 and 35 for it to happen the first time last season. This time, it came on the backs of a winning streak against a team that hasn't had success in Buffalo in almost 10 years. The last time the Sharks won a game in Buffalo it was December 2, 2005. That was Joe Thornton's first game as a Shark.
The first period featured two goals that never actually counted due to goaltender interference. Zemgus Girgensons' goal was disallowed after Tyler Ennis bowled into Troy Grosenick and San Jose's Justin Braun's goal was disallowed after Tyler Ennis made some incidental contact into Michal Neuvirth.
The scoring bonanza started in the second period as Nicolas Deslauriers got the scoring started for the Sabres with his second goal of the season. San Jose tied the game five minutes later with a Brent Burns power play blast from the blue line. It would be the only goal the Sharks would score in the period as the Brian Gionta/Brian Flynn pair connected for two goals seven minutes apart. First, it was Gionta getting into the scoring act with his first of the season on a nice feed from Flynn. Gionta reciprocated for Flynn with 12 seconds left in the period on a nice two on one feed.
Brian Gionta put the icing on the cake late in the third with an empty net goal for his second of the night. He talked about finally getting the scoring monkey of his back after the game. "You get hard on yourself when things aren't going your way offensively and you are brought in to be a part of that. Hopefully tonight was the answer."
Michal Neuvirth started this game for Buffalo and made 10 saves in the first period before leaving the game with a lower body injury. Jhonas Enroth started the second period for the Sabres and made 19 saves in the winning effort. San Jose's Troy Grosenick came into the game sporting a 60 minute career shutout streak that lasted another 25:25 into this game before being broken by the Deslauriers goal. Grosenick finished the game with 10 saves.
Three Hypothetical Questions Answered
*Note: Since I forgot to do the preview today, these would have been the questions asked earlier.
1.) How many fans show up to the game due to the snow storm?
With some spots of Western New York set to see more than six feet of snow and driving bans across many towns and villages, it would be expected that it would be a light crowd in attendance. The Sabres announced that roughly 6,200 people showed up which seemed rather accurate.
2.) Will the Sabres break Grosenick's shutout streak?
After starting his career by shutting out the Hurricanes on Sunday, Grosenick allowed his first goal with the Deslauriers goal.
3.) Who is the Sabres emergency goalie?
After Michal Neuvirth went down in the first period, the Sabres had to have a backup plan in case Enroth was injured as well. That backup plan was goaltender coach Arturs Irbe. Irbe signed a contract in between periods, borrowed some pads and hung out on the bench for the rest of the game in case he was called upon.