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Marleau scores winner, Sharks top Sabres in overtime

by Joe Yerdon /

BUFFALO -- It took the San Jose Sharks nearly 10 years, but they got their second win in franchise history in Buffalo.

Patrick Marleau scored with 2:01 remaining in overtime to give the Sharks a 2-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center on Saturday.

The win ended the Sabres' eight-game win streak against the Sharks and was their first victory in Buffalo since Dec. 2, 2005. It was the second win in 18 games in franchise history in Buffalo (2-15-1).

"It feels good," Marleau said. "I knew it had been a long time, but I didn't know it had been that long so it's definitely nice to switch things going a little bit the other way now. Hopefully we can get 10 in a row now."

Marleau's fifth goal of the season came when he put a rebound of defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic's shot off the post past Sabres goalie Chad Johnson. The goal was Marleau's 998th career point.

"I thought I scored that. I thought I did," Vlasic said. "[Would've been] my first multi-goal game, but no. We scored, so that's fine."

Marleau's goal was the 90th game-winning goal of his career.

"It's probably a good thing we're not in the same division over the last 10 years, but it having been 10 years to finally get one here it's nice, very nice," Marleau said.

The Sharks (9-8-0) have won consecutive games for the first time since opening the season with four straight wins and have won the first two games of a six-game road trip.

"It's nice to get two wins, but you've got to keep it going because if you lose your next two games, you're back to where you started," Vlasic said. "In this league you've got to get wins together in order to create separation with the teams behind you. We started out on this road trip and we've got to keep it going, but it's nice to start it off with back-to-back wins in back-to-back games."

The Sharks got out to a 1-0 lead on a power-play goal by Vlasic 1:48 into the first period. Vlasic took a pass from Joe Pavelski and took a slap shot from the faceoff circle that went over the glove of Sabres goalie Chad Johnson for his second goal of the season. Johnson couldn't see the shot because of a screen by Marleau.

"I had the opportunity to shoot it and these days if you don't have a screen in front of the goalie it's hard to beat them," Vlasic said. "With [Marleau], the goalie didn't see anything. I made a nice shot, but [Marleau] it's because of him, but he's not on the point sheet because of that, but he did a lot of the work there."

The Sharks were 0-for-14 on the power play in the previous six games before Vlasic's goal.

"We got a power play goal, which we needed," coach Peter DeBoer said. "Our specialty teams came up big. Guys dug deep for back to back. We were running on fumes a little bit, but our goalie was great and gave us a chance to get to overtime."

Pavelski's assist was his 500th career point.

"Power play or shorthanded it doesn't really matter," Pavelski said. "Obviously it's nice. It's a good milestone, but you understand that 500 points, you don't get those by yourself. I've played with a lot of good players over the years and a good power play. I've been on some good lines, you just try to make the plays, try to get a little better each year, and you obviously don't want to stop there. You just want to keep playing."

The Sabres had an opportunity to tie the game later in the first period when they had 1:25 of a 5-on-3 power play after a bench minor for too many men on the ice at 8:26 followed by a tripping penalty to Vlasic at 9:01. The Sharks killed off the penalties and held the Sabres to three shots on goal.

"I think it was a real big part of the game," Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said. "Anytime you get a 5-on-3 for that long a period of time, you feel like it should be 100 percent cashing in and we didn't get a lot of looks at the net. ... It was a big point in the game. You look at that much time on the clock and think you should cash in and don't. It was a big momentum boost for them and a downer for our team."

Sabres forward Ryan O'Reilly tied the game 1-1 for Buffalo (8-8-1) 6:27 into the third period. O'Reilly's fifth goal came after a pass from Rasmus Ristolainen bounced off Sharks defenseman Paul Martin deflected to O'Reilly, who skated to the faceoff circle to the left of Sharks goalie Martin Jones and took a slap shot that beat Jones over his shoulder on his blocker side.

"I just tried to get it on net as hard as I could," O'Reilly said. "Everything else wasn't working."

Ristolainen's assist extended his point streak to four games (three goals, three assists).

Johnson and Jones each made 30 saves.

Prior to the game, there was a moment of silence to honor the victims of the attacks in Paris on Friday.

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