Buffalo Sabres (0-2-0-1) vs. San Jose Sharks (0-2-0-0)
When: 10:30 PM ET, Thursday, October 12, 2017
Where: SAP Center at San Jose, San Jose, California
Lines: Buffalo +150 / San Jose -170
After two season-opening home defeats, the San Jose Sharks (8th in Pacific Division) still remain in the Shark Tank to host one of their trickiest opponents in the Buffalo Sabres (8th in Atlantic), who haven’t started the new season any better…
Buffalo’s Appalling Form Continues
There was nothing that could spare the Buffalo Sabres (0-2-1) from another defeat this season, as they helplessly fell 6-2 against an inspired New Jersey Devils side at KeyBank Center on Monday. Playing just two days after losing 6-3 in a similarly disjointed affair at the New York Islanders, the Sabres were once again timid and disinterested, with only Evander Kane shining through with some heavy workload, including six hits, seven shots on goal and two snipes, taking his scoring tally to four goals and six points for the year so far. Rasmus Ristolainen (no goals, 2 points this term) and Jason Pominville (2 goals, 3 points) registered an assist each.
Goalie Chad Johnson allowed six goals on 22 shots over the first two periods and was pulled for Robin Lehner, who made nine saves in the final frame. Lehner is 0-1-1 for the season with a 3.21 GAA and a .908 save percentage and has posted a 0-2-0 career total against San Jose with a 3.55 GAA and a .923 save percentage. Johnson, meanwhile, is 0-1-0 for the current campaign so far with a 5.92 GAA and a .816 save percentage and has gone 3-1-1 versus the Sharks with a 2.18 GAA and a .925 save percentage. The Sabres are netting the 7th lowest number of goals per game (2.33), conceding the 3rd highest amount on the defensive end (4.67). They are 17th in power play with a 15.4% conversion rate (2-for-13) and one of the three remaining teams yet to give up a goal while shorthanded, going 11-for-11 in penalty kill.
Sharks Start With Two Stinkers
The San Jose Sharks (0-2-0) are preparing for their third outing of the new season on the back of two painful home defeats, recording their worst start to a new campaign in the past 12 years. The Sharks managed to salvage 2-0 and 3-2 deficits in their 2017-18 opener at SAP Center on Wednesday against Philadelphia, only to give up two unanswered goals in the third period, with the Flyers grabbing a 5-3 win. The game against the Los Angeles Kings three days later went even worse, with the hosts being outshot (39-25) and outscored (4-1) by a considerably heftier margin. Kevin Labanc currently leads the team in goals (2), while Brenden Dillon has collected the most assists (2). The reigning Norris Trophy winner Brent Burns has notched one helper, but has the team-worst minus-5 coefficient and leads the Sharks in most giveaways (7).
Goalie Martin Jones is 0-2-0 after the first two outings with a 5.16 GAA and a .864 save percentage. He allowed four goals on 30 shots against Philadelphia, conceding further four on 29 shots versus the Kings before being pulled on Saturday for Aaron Dell, who made nine saves against Los Angeles during a 23-minute stint. Dell has never faced Buffalo before, while Jones has posted a 2-1-1 career record versus the Sabres with a 2.22 GAA and a .919 save percentage. After the first two matchups of the new term, the Sharks are netting the 3rd lowest quantity of goals per game (2.00), giving up the 4th highest amount defensively (4.50). They are 12th in power play with a 20.0% success rate (2-for-10) and 26th in penalty kill with 72.7% proficiency (8-for-11).
- Sabres are 0-4 in their last 4 vs. a team with a losing record.
- Sabres are 1-4 in their last 5 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of less than .400.
- Sabres are 2-6 in their last 8 vs. Western Conference.
- Sharks are 4-0 in their last 4 games playing on 3 or more days rest.
- Sharks are 4-1 in their last 5 vs. Eastern Conference.
- Sharks are 9-3 in their last 12 games following a loss of 3 or more goals.
The Sabres have been a tough nut to crack for San Jose lately, winning 10 of their last 12 overall meetings against the Sharks, including five victories in six trips to the Shark Tank. Thing is, Buffalo has gone from bad to worse as far as its first three opening games of 2017-18 are concerned and will face a San Jose team absolutely desperate to grabs its first victory of the new campaign. Back the Sharks in this one…