Sabres-Sharks Preview

The Associated PressNovember 4, 2013

A visit from the lowly Buffalo Sabres might provide the San Jose Sharks with a good opportunity to end their minor rough patch.

They'll look to avoid a third straight loss while trying to halt their recent struggles against the Sabres by handing them a fifth consecutive defeat Tuesday night.

Though San Jose (10-1-3) has earned at least one point in four straight games since a 2-1 loss at Boston on Oct. 24, it's failed to hold a lead in each of the last two contests. The Sharks had a one-goal lead in the third period of Wednesday's 4-3 overtime loss at Los Angeles and a 2-1 second-period advantage during a 3-2 shootout defeat to Phoenix on Saturday that snapped a 5-0-0 home start.

San Jose recorded 50 shots and had six power-play chances against the Coyotes, but managed one goal with the man advantage. Though the Sharks are 3 for 21 on the power play in the last six games, they felt as if a point was left on the ice for a second straight contest.

"Probably watching the tape over again you probably deserved the two points," said forward Joe Thornton, who has three assists in four games. "That's how it works some days, but the guys competed hard and that's how we want to play."

Veteran defenseman Dan Boyle scored in his return from missing the previous seven games with a concussion.

"That definitely felt good," he said. "It's unfortunate we got the loss. We probably deserved better."

San Jose, which has earned a point in 28 of 30 home games since the start of last season (22-2-6), would appear to be in good shape to bounce back versus Buffalo (2-13-1).

The Sabres' five points are the fewest in the league and they've allowed 15 goals during a four-game slide that followed a 3-1 victory at Florida on Oct. 25. Cody Hodgson gave Buffalo a 1-0 second-period lead against Anaheim at home Saturday, but the Ducks scored five in a row en route to a 6-3 victory.

"We're facing a lot of adversity right now," said Hodgson, who has recorded four of his team-leading five goals in the last seven games. "We can say as much as we want, but at the end of the day it's what we do on the ice. Right now it's not good enough."

Matt Moulson added two assists Saturday and also has two goals in three games since being acquired by the Sabres in a deal that sent Thomas Vanek to the New York Islanders on Oct. 27.

Buffalo's Ryan Miller has a 3.58 goals-against average during a six-game skid, but he's posted a 1.00 GAA and recorded consecutive shutouts while in net the whole time during the Sabres' four-game winning streak against the Sharks

Though the teams last met March 1, 2012, the Sabres have outscored the Sharks 13-4 in the last four.

Thornton has been held without a point in those contests.

After serving a 10-game suspension for his hit on Columbus' Jack Johnson on Oct. 10, Buffalo forward Patrick Kaleta cleared waivers and was assigned to the team's AHL affiliate in Rochester.