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Sabres aim for 2nd home win vs. Sharks
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- After an extremely disappointing start to the new season, the Buffalo Sabres picked up their first home victory of the year on Tuesday against the Detroit Red Wings.
They'll go for home win No. 2 against the San Jose Sharks in a matinee (1 p.m.) on Saturday.
The win over the Red Wings was anything but pretty, but the Sabres (3-6-2) showed some much-needed grit and got the job done in the end. Benoit Pouliot scored the lone goal for Buffalo on a wrap-around and Robin Lehner did the rest with 32 saves for his sixth career shutout.
"This team's been through a lot," Sabres head coach Phil Housley said. "They've had some tough starts they've had to battle through, but they've now found a way to win a tight game, which is really important. I think that's really going to help their confidence being in that situation again."
The Sabres may be getting some help on the back end in the near future, too. Buffalo's reshuffled defense endured a rocky start to the year but defenseman Justin Falk is nearing a return and has not been ruled out of Saturday's game against San Jose. Falk has yet to play this season after suffering an injury at the end of training camp.
"The timing wasn't great," Falk said, according to the team's website. "But you show what you can in training camp and then now more importantly you've got to make sure that you're back to the point that you can make a good impression again, whenever that time may be."
Fellow Sabres defenseman Zach Bogosian is still considered week-to-week for Buffalo.
Evander Kane, Jason Pominville and Jack Eichel are all tied for the Sabres' lead in points with 11. Lehner has a save percentage of .913 in seven games.
The Sharks (4-5-0) are coming off a close 2-1 loss to the Boston Bruins on Thursday night. Saturday will mark the end of a five-game road swing for the Sharks, who are 2-2 on the East Coast trip thus far.
"Our game's been in a good spot," defenseman Brent Burns said, according to the team's website. "We're in every game, we're playing well, we're getting back to what we do well and it's just tough when you lose like that."
Logan Couture leads the Sharks in points with 10 (seven goals, three assists). Joe Veteran Joe Thornton is second on the team with seven points (two goals, five assists) and scored San Jose's lone goal against the Bruins.
In that game, Thornton tied Jari Kurri for 20th in all-time NHL points with 1,398 points in his career.
"We were pushing and pushing, but we couldn't get one past him at the end," Thornton said, according to the team's website. "But the boys fought hard. I liked our game, but it didn't work out for us in the end."
Goaltender Martin Jones is off to a strong start to the season for the Sharks with a save percentage of .928 through seven games.
Updated October 27, 2017