Sabres at Sharks
The San Jose Sharks and Buffalo Sabres have resided at opposite ends of the NHL spectrum over the past few years, but the series has been surprisingly one-sided during that span. The reigning Pacific Division champion Sharks look to build on a rare win over the Sabres when the teams meet at the SAP Center in San Jose on Thursday night.
The Sharks halted the Sabres' five-game winning streak in San Jose and a 10-0-1 run overall in the series in mid-March, but they are more preoccupied with their own play. “When you’re sitting two losses with no points in the standings, it stirs you up and makes you hungry to go get a ‘W’ and makes you want to come fired up for Thursday,” center Chris Tierney said. Buffalo also is searching for its first victory as it opens a four-game road trip and trying to group after being pierced for 12 goals in its last two defeats. "Yeah, I know it's only three games, but it's six points," defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen said. "At the end of the year the schedule might be tough and you need every point so right now the good thing is, it's only three games so we can regroup and be strong on this tough road trip against really, really good teams."
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, MSG-Buffalo, NBCSports California (San Jose)
ABOUT THE SABRES (0-2-1): New coach Phil Housley juggled his lines at Tuesday's practice, elevating Zemgus Girgensons to the top line while inserting Evander Kane alongside Ryan O'Reilly and Kyle Okposo. "You change the lines to try to get other guys going or maybe there's some chemistry that you're looking for," Housley said. They could change tomorrow, but we thought we would try these combinations moving forward." Kane has been a force with consecutive two-goal games.
ABOUT THE SHARKS (0-2-0): San Jose coach Pete DeBoer also has tinkered with both his lines and power-play units during practice this week and might have a new face on the blue line. Defenseman Paul Martin exited Tuesday's practice after 10 minutes, possibly opened the door for Swedish rookie Tim Heed to play in his second career game. “Had a great year last year, arguably the best defenseman in the (AHL),” DeBoer said. He’s going to play some games and get an opportunity."
1. Sabres C Jack Eichel had a goal and two assists in two matchups against San Jose last season.
2. Sharks G Martin Jones, sporting a 5.17 goals-against average, is 2-1-1 with a 2.22 GAA against the Sabres.
3. Buffalo has surrendered four short-handed goals, matching its total from last season.