The San Jose Sharks head into Buffalo on the heels of a sad 6-0 loss to the Golden Knights in Las Vegas. Home ice advantage was on full display for the Knights, who showed a glimpse of the team that captured the league last season. They’ve been struggling to get into a rhythm this season, but showed why they went to the Stanley Cup Final with that performance against the Sharks.
It appears the Golden Knights also had the distraction of Vegas on their side. The Sharks were just coming off a six-game homestand, so they were feeling a bit lazy in their first game on the road since November 9th, a game that resulted in a loss as well, 4-0 to the Blues. It’s been a while since they’ve won anything on the road.
Their last win away from home was October 28th against the Anaheim Ducks in overtime. So, that wasn’t much of a road trip for the Sharks. We need to go back to October 9th against the Flyers to find the last game they won on the east coast. They smashed them by a score of 8-2, which we were fortunate enough to be on the Sharks in that contest.
Now after getting punched in the mouth in Las Vegas, the Sharks must take a long flight to Buffalo for a meeting with the hottest team in the NHL. The Sabres will put a nine-game winning streak on the line Tuesday night. It powered them all the way to the top of the standings until the Lightning took back 1st place overall with a victory on Sunday. Buffalo won’t be able to sustain this kind of success throughout the season, but this isn’t a fluke, they’re a good team with enough talent to be a playoff team. I thought they were one year off, but the emergence of Jeff Skinner has accelerated their plans, at least thus far. Head below for our free Sharks vs. Sabres pick.
San Jose Sharks vs. Buffalo Sabres Pick
It’s been a total team effort for the Sabres during this winning streak. From the goal scorers, to the blueline, and goaltending have all come together in unison for the Sabres. I know this team is Jack Eichel’s, but a lot of credit must go to Skinner who came to Buffalo from the Hurricanes. The Hurricanes weren’t interested in paying Skinner, but he found a home in Buffalo and is thriving in their scheme.
Eichel leads the team with 28 points and Skinner is 2nd on the roster with 26 points. Skinner was leading the NHL in goals before Patrik Laine went off for 5 goals over the weekend. The Sabres have averaged 3.6 goals per game during their nine-game winning streak, while allowing 2.4 goals per game. They’ve allowed less than 3 goals in six of their last seven games, which has actually been the most impressive aspect of their hot run. Overall, at home in Buffalo, the Sabres have scored 3.18 goals per game and allowed 2.5 goals per game.
Like I noted earlier, the Sharks have had a tough go of it on the road. Their last win on the east coast was well over a month ago. San Jose have scored an average of 2.73 goals per game and allowed 3.45 goals per game on the road. It’s indicative of their 4-5-1 away record. Conversely, Buffalo have gone 8-2-1 at home this season.
Martin Jones could be playing better hockey, as he enters tonight with a 3.01 GAA and 0.891 save percentage. Jones has given up at least 4 goals in his previous three outings. He didn’t start against the Knights, but it didn’t matter clearly. Aaron Dell got hit hard anyway to pick up where Jones left off. The Sharks will be in Toronto on Wednesday, so this is a back-to-back scenario for them. The price is too nice to ignore the Sabres at home on Tuesday night against a jet-lagged Sharks squad who were just in Vegas.