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Sabres Notebook: San Jose first stop on West Coast trip

When the Buffalo Sabres open their four-game West Coast road trip against San Jose on Thursday (10:30 p.m., MSG), they'll be meeting a team that's also looking to quickly right the ship.

The Sharks aren't off to a great start, either. They're 0-2 and have been outscored 9-4 in those games.

"Right now, if you look at San Jose, they're sort of in the same predicament that we are," Sabres coach Phil Housley said after his team practiced in HarborCenter Wednesday morning. "It's going to be a tough game. I'm sure they're not happy with their game, just like we're not happy with ours. … It's good that guys can get out on the road, hopefully bond together, but we've got to start winning."

The rhetoric coming out of the San Jose dressing room sounds familiar to what's being said in Buffalo.

"I think we understand mentally where we're at. It's not where we need to be," Sharks captain Joe Pavelski told the media after a 4-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday. "The hockey we're playing right now, I respect that everybody's coming to the rink ready to play, but we're missing something. Just mentally, I think, we know we've got a whole other level. We're just going to have to go back to the start, reset a few things."

The Sharks may be without defenseman Paul Martin, who is still recovering from offseason ankle surgery. He had fewer than 11 minutes of time in San Jose's 4-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.


At Wednesday's  practice, the Sabres didn't just shuffle their lines, but reworked their power play units.

On the first unit, Jason Pominville and Evander Kane joined Ryan O'Reilly and Jack Eichel with Rasmus Risstolainen at the point. The second unit had Kyle Okposo, Seth Griffith and Benoit Pouliot along with defensemen Nathan Beaulieu and Matt Tennyson.

The Sabres have two goals in 13 power plays through the first three games. More concerning that the goals for have been the goals against when the Sabres have the man advantage. Buffalo has given up four shorthanded goals in three games, matching the total they allowed all of last season.


It's the second road trip of the season and it's a doozy at that. After playing in San Jose on Thursday, the Sabres play in Los Angeles on Saturday, Anaheim on Sunday, then Las Vegas on Tuesday.

The team does not return home until Oct. 20 when they host Vancouver at 7 p.m. in KeyBank Center.


The Sabres will get their first look at the NHL's newest team when they close out their road trip Oct. 17 in Las Vegas. The Golden Knights are already making history, becoming the first club in the 100-years of the league to begin its inaugural season with three straight wins.

James Neal scored two goals on Tuesday as the Golden Knights defeated Arizona, 5-2, in their first game at T-Mobile Arena. Neal has scored the game-winning goal in the first three wins for Vegas. According to Elias Sports Bureau, Neal is the second player from any NHL team in the expansion era (since 1967) to register the game-winning goal in each of his team's first three games. The other was Brian Propp with Philadelphia to start the 1982-83 season.


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