SAN JOSE -- Logan Couture collected a hat trick, the first coming as part of a flurry of two power-play tallies in 27 seconds early in the first period, as the San Jose Sharks got an early jump and pulled away to beat the Buffalo Sabres, 5-1, Thursday in SAP Center.
San Jose was just 2 for 21 on the power play for the season but quickly took advantage of a double minor for high sticking on Kyle Okposo to double its goal total with the man advantage. That was all the Sharks needed to improve to 3-3-1 in just their second home game of the season. The Sabres dropped their second straight to fall to 3-4.
On the night, the Sharks finished 3 for 7 on the power play while Buffalo was 0 for 5.
It was Buffalo's fourth straight loss to San Jose over the last three seasons, the first time they have ever dropped so many in a row against the Sharks since the men in teal entered the NHL in 1992. Before this stretch, the Sabres had been 10-0-1 against the Sharks.
First strike: Joonas Donskoi got the Sharks on the scoreboard at 3:35 as he drove the net and Erik Karlsson's shot from the right circle deflected off his body past Buffalo goalie Carter Hutton.
Quick strike: The Sharks went up 2-0 at 4:02 when Couture's soft 50-footer eluded Hutton, who was clearly screened by Jake McCabe.
Never headed: In all seven Sabres games this season, the team that scored the first goal was never tied at any point in the game.
No man advantage: The Sabres failed to score on three first-period power plays and the 0-for-5 showing dropped them to 1 for 21 over a four-game stretch. They are 0 for 20 this year in their four losses.
Breaking through: McCabe cut the Sabres' deficit in half with a goal at 1:35 of the second period, leaking in from the left point and driving home a shot from the left circle past Martin Jones. Rasmus Dahlin earned his third point of the season with an assist on the play.
Pulling away: The Sharks took a two-goal lead at 4:54 of the third on Couture's second of the game after a bad clear by Marco Scandella and a school of Rasmus Ristolainen in front by Kane. The former Sabre backhanded the puck across the crease and Couture had an empty-net to tap it home. Couture completed his hat trick into an empty net with 1:47 left.
The coup de grace: Sharks captain Joe Pavelski drove home the clincher with 8:11 left, tapping home a loose puck in the crease just seven seconds after Scandella went off for tripping.
Falling apart: The Sharks had a 19-16 edge in shots on goal through two periods. The count was 19-9 in the third period for a final count of 38-25.
In the house: The Sharks made a press box announcement that 17,389 tickets were distributed and the wording was accurate. There were all kinds of empty seats in the lower level of the arena.
Up next: The Sabres headed to Los Angeles after the game and will practice Friday in suburban El Segundo. They meet the Kings Saturday afternoon at 3:30 Eastern (12:30 Pacific), as Staples Center has a huge doubleheader starting with hockey and continuing at 8 p.m. local time with LeBron James' home opener with the Los Angeles Lakers. The road trip ends Sunday night in Anaheim.