Hours after big trade, the Sabres sink the Sharks 4-2
Hodgson, Flynn, Moulson and Myers score goals for streaking Buffalo.
The Associated Press The Associated Press
Jhonas Enroth made 36 saves as the Buffalo Sabres beat the San Jose Sharks 4-2 on Friday night, a few hours after they traded goalie Ryan Miller and captain Steve Ott.
Cody Hodgson, Brian Flynn, Matt Moulson and Tyler Myers scored for Buffalo, while Enroth played well in the absence of Miller, who was dealt to St. Louis along with Ott before warmups.
Miller was set to start his 541st career game for the Sabres, but was pulled from the lineup. Buffalo general manager Tim Murray used the two veterans in his first major trade, acquiring Jaroslav Halak, forward Chris Stewart, prospect William Carrier, a first-round pick in 2015 and a third-rounder in 2016 from the Blues.
James Sheppard and Patrick Marleau scored for San Jose.
The win gave Buffalo three straight wins for the first time since last April.
The Sabres opened the scoring on a power-play goal 10:59 into the first period, as Antti Niemi couldn’t hold on to Hodgson’s wrist shot. It was Hodgson’s 15th goal and his first since Jan. 28.
Enroth made a glove save of Matt Irwin’s slap shot through traffic with under seven minutes to play to keep Buffalo ahead. He made another strong glove save 7:22 into the second period when Marleau was left uncovered in the slot.
Moments later, Myers beat Niemi off a rush up the right side, but his shot clanked off the cross bar.
After another pair of saves, Enroth was beaten when Sheppard forced a puck between the goaltender’s legs after a shot rebounded off the end boards.
The Sharks finished the second period with a 31-13 advantage in shots on goal.
Buffalo restored its lead 4:33 into the third when Zemgus Girgensons won a faceoff back to Flynn, whose wrist shot beat Niemi.
The Sabres doubled their advantage four minutes later when Myers jumped into the play from the right point to feed Moulson in the slot, who scored over Niemi’s shoulder.
Marleau brought the Sharks within one with a one-timer with 1:15 left in regulation. Joe Thornton picked up his 50th assist of the season on the goal.
Myers added an empty-net goal with 21 seconds left to give him a goal and two assists on the night.
It was Enroth’s second consecutive win after he snapped a 0-10-4 slump with a 5-4 overtime win against Boston on Wednesday, which was his first home win since April.
With the trade of Miller, Buffalo was forced to reach into their new hockey academy staff for a backup goaltender. HarborCenter director of technology Ryan Vinz was Buffalo’s No. 2 goaltender after being a video coordinator at Clarkson University.
The fans gave standing ovations when the scoreboard showed video tributes to Ott and Miller in the third period, adding in a “Thank you, Ryan!” chant.