Sabres-Sharks Preview

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.