SAN JOSE, Calif. – The Buffalo Sabres weren't the only team on the ice here Thursday in desperate get-the-first-win mode. The San Jose Sharks had not started a season 0-3 since 1993 and needed to beat their old nemesis to avoid that fate.
The Sharks did exactly that. They got the go-ahead goal from Timo Meier late in the second period and held on through the third to beat Buffalo, 3-2, before 17,402 in SAP Center.
The loss dropped the Sabres to 0-3-1 and into last place in the NHL's overall standing just four games into the season, tied with Arizona for the same record but holders of an inferior goal differential. It's Buffalo's slowest start to a season since starting 0-6-1 in 2013. The Sharks got their first victory of the season after opening with home losses to Philadelphia and Los Angeles.
Dominance fading away: The Sabres lost for the second straight season here after beating the Sharks on their home ice for five straight trips. Until those two losses, Buffalo had been on a 12-1-1 run against the Sharks since 2005.
The winner: Meier gave San Jose the lead at 14:30 of the second period by tapping home a loose puck after goaltender Robin Lehner couldn't corral it and Rasmus Ristolainen failed to get either the puck or Meier, standing to Lehner's left.
Population explosion: Jason Pominville had his second two-goal game of the season for the Sabres -- equaling his multi-goal output of 82 games last year in Minnesota. His second came at 6:50 of the second period on the tail end of a 2-on-1 break, a tap-in from a Jack Eichel pass that got Buffalo even at 2-2.
Double trouble: The Sabres have had a two-goal scorer in each of the first four games, twice by Pominville and two by Evander Kane. It's the first time the Sabres have had such a four-game streak since March 3-15, 2013.
Early trouble: Marco Scandella took an ill-advised slashing penalty just 36 seconds into the game and the Sharks capitalized as Tomas Hertl beat Jake McCabe to the spot at the edge of the crease and had an easy tap-in of a Kevin Labanc pass at 2:15.
No more perfect PK: The Hertl goal was the first power-play tally allowed by the Sabres this season. Buffalo entered the game 11 for 11 on the penalty kill, tied with Ottawa as the only teams in the league who were perfect on the PK.
Getting even: The Sabres made it 1-1 at 12:26 of the first as Pominville banged home a perfect back pass from Eichel after great work lugging the puck into the zone by Zemgus Girgensons.
Another great pass: Joonas Donskoi burned the Sabres on the Sharks' second goal, with a quick backhand feed from behind the net that Chris Tierney tapped home at 15:11 to put the Sharks up, 2-1.
Donskoi, whose overtime goal beat Pittsburgh in Game 3 of the 2016 Stanley Cup final, was skating behind the net to Lehner's right but quickly flipped the puck behind him to Tierney, catching Lehner looking over the wrong shoulder. Scandella was too late to get to Tierney, who slid the puck into an empty net.
Up next: The Sabres headed south after the game to Los Angeles, where they will practice Friday at the Kings' facility in suburban El Segundo and play them Saturday night in Staples Center.