The San Jose Sharks are 0-for-Buffalo.
Powered by their two hottest players, the Sharks will look to win in Buffalo for the first time when they take on the playoff-hopeful Sabres.
Since entering the league in 1991, San Jose has gone 0-10 in Buffalo. However, with Nabokov playing as well as he has and All-Star Marleau scoring points in five straight games, it appears the Sharks may be ready to end that slide.
The Pacific Division-leading Sharks went into the All-Star break on a high note Thursday, beating Phoenix 5-0 for their eighth win in their last 11 games (8-2-0-1).
“We’re in a good spot now to finish the season out,” said rookie Nils Ekman, who had three assists. “It’s in our hands now and we’re not satisfied yet.”
The Sharks scored twice in the first 13 minutes and Nabokov needed just 20 saves for his second consecutive shutout and third in four home games.
“This is what we have been working for,” said Nabokov, who tied his single-season franchise record with his seventh shutout, the 24th of his career. “The hard work is paying off, but it’s still too early. We have to keep it going.”
Marleau continued his recent tear by scoring on the power play. The 24-year-old center has four goals and four assists during his five-game point streak, and is five goals shy of his career high of 28, set last season.
The Sabres are in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, seven points behind the New York Islanders. They had won four straight and five of six before suffering a bad 6-2 home loss to Boston on Thursday.
The six goals against snapped a six-game streak in which Buffalo allowed two or fewer, and were the most since a 7-2 loss to Detroit on Dec. 10.
“Not too many guys showed up for us tonight,” said Daniel Briere, the Sabres’ newly appointed captain of the month. “I get to be captain for a day and we answer like that. I have nothing else to say.”