The Buffalo Sabres peppered goalie Adin Hill and the San Jose Sharks, but were defeated 3-2 on Thursday night at KeyBank Center.
John Hayden helped deliver early energy for the Sabres when he dropped the gloves with Jonah Gadjovich. Both players received five-minute fighting majors just over two minutes into the game.
The Sharks struck first thanks to a breakdown in coverage that led to Matt Nieto's third goal of the season. The goal came on the seventh shot of the period for the visitors to help them open up a 1-0 lead. Just over a minute later, Timo Meier doubled the lead to 2-0 by using a pair of Sabres as a screen in front of goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen.
Tomas Hertl scored his team-leading 17th goal of the season late in the opening period to extend San Jose's lead to 3-0 over the Sabres. Alexander Barabanov passed the puck into the slot, and Hertl beat Luukkonen with the shot.
Jeff Skinner trimmed Buffalo's deficit to 3-1 midway through the second period with his 11th goal of the season. The goal came on the Sabres' fifth shot of the period. Victor Olofsson was credited with the lone assist.
Buffalo outshot the Sharks, 9-5 in the middle frame, and enjoyed a 17-16 overall advantage in shots in the game. The Sabres had a power play chance late in the period, but failed to score.
The Sabres closed the gap to 3-2 late in the third period thanks to a power play chance. With the team using a 6-on-4 advantage with Jaycob Megna in the penalty box, Zemgus Girgensons was able to convert a rebound chance. It was his seventh goal of the season.
Buffalo finished the night with 39 total shots on goal, but Hill was able to make 37 saves for the victory. Luukkonen stopped 18 of San Jose's 21 shots in the loss.
SJS: 12:27 - Matt Nieto (3) (Andrew Cogliano, Nick Bonino); 13:44 - Timo Meier (14) (Tomas Hertl, Mario Ferraro); 17:24 - Tomas Hertl (17) (Alexander Barabanov)
BUF: 7:56 - Jeff Skinner (11) (Victor Olofsson)
BUF: 18:15 - Zemgus Girgensons (7) PPG (Tage Thompson, Rasmus Dahlin)
BUF: 2:20 - John Hayden (Fighting - 5 min,)
SJS: 2:20 - Jonah Gadjovich (Fighting - 5 min,)
BUF: 13:58 - Jeff Skinner (Tripping - 2 min.)
SJS: 17:44 - Marc-Edouard Vlasic (Delay of game - 2 min.)
SJS: 9:03 - Andrew Cogliano (Cross checking - 2 min.); 17:51 - Jaycob Megna (Tripping - 2 min.)
Losi and Gangi Three Stars of the Game:
1.) Tomas Hertl - SJS
2.) Adin Hill - SJS
3.) Jeff Skinner - BUF
The blue and gold have another long layoff before game action. The Sabres will host the Tampa Bay Lightning this upcoming Tuesday night at 7 p.m. EST. Catch all of the action on the flagship home of the Sabres Radio Network - WGR Sports Radio 550. Pregame coverage with Mike Schopp and the Bulldog starts at 6 p.m. EST.