The San Jose Sharks are out east to begin a lengthy five-game road trip. They won’t be home until November 1st against that Winnipeg Jets. The Sharks will then enjoy a six-game homestand and eight of nine games in San Jose following this road trip. That’s a nice opportunity to pile up wins in a place where they usually have a lot of success.
It was a slow start for the Sharks, but they were able to bounce back with three wins to erase a 0-4-0 opening act. The Sabres put an end to the three-game win streak with a 4-3 victory on Saturday in San Jose. The Sharks and Sabres will complete the tail end of their home and home at KeyBank Center. Buffalo took the first game by a score of 4-3.
It was an entertaining game that came down to Linus Ullmark and Martin Jones between the pipes. Jones was playing great until he met the Sabres on Saturday. He allowed 4 goals on 35 shots to take the loss. Ullmark has been okay for the Sabres, but Carter Hutton has been shining during this opening run by the Sabres. Buffalo enter Tuesday with a sharp record of 7-1-1. Their only loss in regulation came against the Anaheim Ducks in opener of their recent road trip.
The Sabres have yet to lose a game at home in Buffalo, where they sport a perfect record of 4-0-0. They went on an impressive stretch last season with ten straight wins. However, it didn’t happen like this to open the year. The ten-game win streak came out of nowhere, and just as fast, the Sabres disappeared not to be mentioned again.
They fell quickly and are hoping to avoid something similar with this nice opening stretch of 7-1-1. Hutton who has been on fire is expected to get the nod for the Sabres. He will be countered by Martin Jones of the Sharks. Head below for our free Sharks vs. Sabres pick.
San Jose Sharks vs. Buffalo Sabres Pick
Hutton looks determined to show that he can be the clear No. 1 goaltender in Buffalo. There was plenty of debate going into this season between Ullmark and Hutton in net, with I think more Sabres’ fans leaning towards Ullmark. A couple of weeks into the regular season and that can’t be further from the truth now. Hutton enters Tuesday night with a 1.40 GAA and 0.953 save percentage in five outings. He is coming off back-to-back shutouts, with wins over the Stars and Kings. That is 72 shots without allowing a goal by Hutton.
He has had a solid career against the Stars with a 2.27 GAA and 0.923 save percentage in ten appearances. The Sabres’ defence and goaltending disappeared after they went on a ten-game win streak last season. Everybody got a bit too lazy and believed it was going to be that easy all year. The Sabres won a ton of 1-goal games thanks to the goaltending and defence showing up to compete. Hutton and the blue line must find better consistency this season.
So far so good for the Sabres, as they’re 6th in the NHL with 2.33 goals allowed per game. Their effort at home has been superb, with only 4 goals allowed at home in three games. The offence has been playing well too, with an average of 3.67 goals scored per game. They’re not an offensively challenged team, so goals are expected to come for the Sabres. Finding consistency in net and on the blue line will be most important.
The Sharks have struggled mightily on the road this season, as their only win was a close 5-4 victory against the Blackhawks in Chicago. They were able to take advantage of a bad defence and goaltender in that one, but it’s unlikely they’re going to see that in Buffalo. The Sharks are 1-3-0 and have been outscored by a margin of 16-9 on the road. They’ve gotten beaten for 4 goals against while scoring just 2.25 goals per game. Conversely, the Sabres have notched 4.5 goals per game and allowed 2.6 per game.
A terrible beat last night in the NHL, as the Senators scored with a minute and 13 seconds left on the clock to backdoor the Stars puckline. The Stars dominated with 43 shots against 20 for the Senators and still only won by a goal. What was likely the last shot on net for the Sens goes in. Not much to do about losses like that. Tuesday presents an opportunity for a bounce-back spot in Buffalo, though, with the Sabres likely cashing again over the Sharks.