Preview: Sabres host Sharks in back end of home-and-home series
The Sabres return home from their west coast road trip to take on a familiar foe
Bufalo Sabres (7-1-1) vs. San Jose Sharks (3-5-0)
Puck Drop: 7:00 PM EST | KeyBank Center | Buffalo, NY
Radio: WGR 550
SB Nation Sharks Blog: Fear the Fin
Know Your Opponent
San Jose Sharks
Record: 3-5-0 | 6 PTS
Last 10: 3-5-0
Division Ranking: 7th in Pacific Division
Conference Ranking: 11th in the Western Conference
PP: 12th (23.3%)
PK: 2nd (92.8%)
What to Watch
1. Get the Power-Play Rolling Again
During their three-game west coast road trip, the Sabres went 2-for-14 on the power-play, despite operating at a 42.8-percent rate prior. Obviously, nobody expected them to sustain such a gaudy rate of success, but they need to try and get back on track on home ice.
The Sharks and the Anaheim Ducks did a great job of thwarting the Sabres’ man-advantage unit by playing an aggressive style on the penalty kill, along with a concerted effort to close off cross-ice passing lanes, which helped extinguish Buffalo’s biggest weapons in Jack Eichel and Victor Olofsson. Ralph Kruger and the rest of the coaching staff may need to adapt their approach to regain their power-play potency.
2. Home Ice Dominance Over Sharks
Dating back to 2007, the Sabres have beaten the Sharks in six of their last eight head-to-head matchups in Buffalo. Since their inaugural season in 1992, San Jose has only won in the Queen City on three occasions, holding an overall record of 3-17.
Their past history obviously has no bearing on tonight’s contest, but it is pretty incredible to see one team have that type of dominance over another on home ice. Hopefully that trend continues.
3. The Road Ahead
There are six games remaining on the schedule before the blue-and-gold head to Sweden for their two-game series against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Following tonight’s game, they play the New York Rangers, Detroit Red Wings, and Arizona Coyotes to close out the month of October.
All of those are extremely winnable games, and if they can continue to build on an already hot start, the European series would carry an added level of intrigue.
Victor Olofsson - Jack Eichel - Sam Reinhart
Jeff Skinner - Marcus Johansson - Vladimir Sobotka
Jimmy Vesey - Casey Mittelstadt - Conor Sheary
Zemgus Girgensons - Johan Larsson - Kyle Okposo
Jake McCabe - Rasmus Ristolainen
Marco Scandella - Henri Jokiharju
Starting Goaltender: Carter Hutton
San Jose Sharks (projected)
Timo Meier - Logan Couture - Patrick Marleau
Evander Kane - Tomas Hertl - Kevin Labanc
Marcus Sorensen - Joe Thornton - Barclay Goodrow
Melker Karlsson - Dylan Gambrell - Lukas Radil
Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Brent Burns
Brenden Dillon - Erik Karlsson
Starting Goaltender: Martin Jones