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Sharks at Sabres: Five Things to Know

Double digits.

It's what the Buffalo Sabres are going for tonight. A 10th straight win for just the third time in franchise history is at the goal when the Sabres meet the San Jose Sharks at 7 p.m. in KeyBank Center. The Sabres also won 10 in a row to open the 2006-07 season and in January 1984.

The game is on MSG – so no railing against NBC Sports Network will be necessary tonight on social media – and its usual spot on WGR Radio.

Here are Five Things to Know about tonight's game:

1. Lineup news: Conor Sheary (upper body) is out tonight although coach Phil Housley said he is listed as day to day. Tage Thompson, with three goals in his last four games, starts at left wing on the second line and Remi Elie gets a second straight game after some strong work Saturday in Detroit.

Afternoon update: Zach Bogosian, who sat out practice Monday, came on the ice late for the morning skate today but did complete the workout. Around 3 p.m., however, the Sabres announced they have recalled Lawrence Pilut from Rochester for the second time this week. It would seem that Pilut is either going to make his NHL debut or has been brought here on standby in case Bogosian can't make it through the pregame warmup.

2. In the nets: Goaltending has been a big story in San Jose as starter Martin Jones has struggled with a 3.01 goals-against average and .891 save percentage. It's been big news here as well, with Carter Hutton on one of the hottest streaks in the league. Hutton is 11-6-1/2.53/.919 for the season – but is on a career-high seven-game winning streak, posting a 1.98/.934 in that span.

3. A turnaround in the series: Even during seasons when they were a bottom-barrel club in the NHL, the Sabres were somehow dominant against the Sharks. That's finally turned as the Sharks have now won four straight in the series and outscored Buffalo, 15-6, in those games. They posted a 5-1 win over Buffalo Oct. 18 in SAP Center but Sharks coach Peter DeBoer knows the Sabres have found their confidence since then.

"You want to extend those rolls as long as possible and nip the times you're not playing well and the losing streaks in the bud," DeBoer said today. "They've turned this into a roll. When you win nine in a row, there's a lot of games and a lot of hockey in there that isn't picture perfect but you're getting great saves or getting a guy like Jeff Skinner scoring every night. Your special teams are really good. You have to win a bunch of different ways and I think they're doing that."

Buffalo is 24-10-6 against San Jose all time – including a 17-2-1 mark at home. The Sabres' last win was a 5-4 overtime thriller here on Feb. 7, 2017, a game won on a goal by current Sharks winger Evander Kane. That win ended a four-year run through the tank era that saw the Sabres go 10-0-1 against San Jose.

Sabres Notebook: Evander Kane expects 'few more people in the stands' during return

4. Sharks update: San Jose is just 12-8-4 and 4-5-2 on the road heading into Kane's return to Buffalo. Defenseman Brent Burns is the team's leading scorer with 24 points (3-21) while Timo Meier (13-9) and Logan Couture (8-14) have 22 apiece. Ugly standouts are the minus-8 ratings of defense stalwarts Erik Karlsson and Marc-Edouard Vlasic. San Jose is 15th in the NHL on the power play and second on the penalty kill (89.2 percent).

"They've been together a long time," said Sabres winger Kyle Okposo. "They've got a lot of guys who are difference makers. They have a complete team."

Housley said the Sabres took a lot from the first meeting, which came a day before their season-defining practice in Los Angeles where the second-year coach revamped his lines and kick-started his team's season.

"If you look at the body of work the whole game, I thought our 5-on-5 game was really good and that was the start of something better," Housley said.

The Sabres had 14 of the 19 shot attempts at 5 on 5 in the first period of that game and were still at 52 percent through two periods. Although they were overwhelmed in the third as the game got out of hand, Housley saw signs that a few line tweaks could make a difference. The Sabres have gone 13-2-2 since.

Inside the NHL: Summer vacation for Sharks' Burns included some love from Bisons

5. This and that: It's Hockey Fights Cancer night, with fans receiving commemorative scarves and a pregame ceremony honoring the league's outreach to fight the disease. ... The Sabres have won five straight at home and are going for their first six-game run since 2014. ... Tuesday is the 13th anniversary of Jason Pominville's first NHL goal, which came on Nov. 27, 2005, during a 3-2 win at Washington. ... The Sabres are 6-2 in overtime, including 3-0 in shootouts. The Sharks are just 3-4/0-2.

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