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Sharks end five-game home losing streak to Sabres

Joe Pavelski's two goals help San Jose defeat Buffalo at SAP Center for first time since Jan. 23, 2010

by Eric Gilmore / NHL.com Correspondent

SAN JOSE -- Joe Pavelski scored two goals to help the San Jose Sharks to a 4-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres at SAP Center on Tuesday.

Micheal Haley and Logan Couture also scored, and Martin Jones made 22 saves for San Jose (42-20-7), which moved nine points ahead of the Calgary Flames and Anaheim Ducks for first place in the Pacific Division. The Sharks trail the Chicago Blackhawks by two points for the Western Conference lead.

Pavelski has seven goals in his past five games and leads the Sharks with 28 this season.

 

WATCH: All Sabres vs. Sharks highlights

 

"In the short time I've known him, he cranks it up this time of year," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said of Pavelski. "Those type of guys see the finish line here and the playoffs and they start to get really excited."

Jack Eichel scored, and Robin Lehner made 37 saves for the Sabres (28-30-12), who had won five straight games in San Jose and were 10-0-1 in their past 11 games against the Sharks before Tuesday.

Video: BUF@SJS: Couture beats Lehner with poke to pad lead

The Sharks had a season-high for shots on goal in any period when they had 20 in the first, but trailed 1-0. Eichel beat Jones with a wrist shot for his 20th goal 1:10 into the game.

Pavelski made it 1-1 at 11:47 of the second period when he beat Lehner with a snap shot from the slot on a power play.

"He's got the hot hand," Sharks defenseman Dylan DeMelo said of Pavelski. "He does it every night, though. If it's not scoring goals, he's doing something. He works hard all the time in practice. They maybe weren't going in as much as he'd like to early on, but he stays with it and he's got such great talent around the net. We knew he'd break through, and he's playing huge for us right now."

Video: BUF@SJS: Haley's forecheck pays off on fortunate goal

The Sharks took advantage of a Sabres miscue to take a 2-1 lead at 19:10 of the second on Haley's goal from close range. Sabres defenseman Cody Franson sent a backhand pass in his own end from below the goal line toward Eichel, but Haley reached out and appeared to deflect the puck off Eichel's stick then skate, and between Lehner's pads.

"There are moments I'd like to have back, just like that one," Eichel said. "It's something that is not normal. It stinks. It almost feels like the turning point in the game. They get a goal at the end of the period, and all of a sudden they're leading going into the third. Obviously a tough one. I feel bad about it. I wish I could have got one back for our team."

Video: BUF@SJS: Moulson, Eichel combine for opening goal

Pavelski scored again at 5:28 of the third period on a snap shot from the left circle to make it 3-1.

Couture extended San Jose's lead to 4-1 at 14:57, deflecting a rolling puck from close range off Lehner's stick and over his shoulder.

 
Goal of the game

Joe Thornton hit Couture with a pass below the goal line, and Couture sent a backhand pass through traffic to Pavelski for his first goal of the game.

Video: BUF@SJS: Pavelski snipes Couture's feed for PPG

 
Save of the game

Lehner made a left-pad save of a wrist shot by Brent Burns from the right of the crease with 2:29 left in the second period.

 

Unsung performance of the game

Burns didn't have a point, but he had a game-high seven shots on goal and led the Sharks with three blocked shots.

 
Highlight of the game

Pavelski quickly got to a loose puck in the left circle after DeMelo's shot from the point deflected off a Sabres player and scored his 28th goal on a snap shot.

Video: BUF@SJS: Pavelski rips home rebound for second tally

 
They said it

"I think we were determined to win this game regardless of whether we got a bounce or not. We had one called back in the first. We didn't win because of a bounce; we won because we earned that win and we were the better team all night right from the drop of the puck. I think we knew the history and we wanted to put an end to it." -- Sharks coach Peter DeBoer

 

"They lived in our zone and lived in our zone until they got the 3-1 lead and they closed it out. I don't think we deserved to win this one." -- Sabres goaltender Robin Lehner

 
Need to know

Eichel became the first Sabres player to score at least 20 goals in his first two NHL seasons since Thomas Vanek in 2005-06 and 2006-07. ... Sharks forward Melker Karlsson missed his second straight game because of a lower-body injury.

 
What's next

Sabres: At the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday (10:30 p.m. ET; MSG-B, FS-W, NHL.TV)

Sharks Host the St. Louis Blues on Thursday (10:30 p.m. ET; FS-MW, CSN-CA, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Pavelski's pair powers Sharks past Sabres

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