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Sharks at Sabres preview

Thornton of San Jose looks to move up all-time scoring list; Buffalo aims to improve power play

by Joe Yerdon / NHL.com Correspondent

SHARKS (4-5-0) at SABRES (3-6-2)

1 p.m. ET; SN, MSG-B, NBCSCA, NHL.TV

 

The game

Center Joe Thornton will look to take sole possession of 20th place on the NHL's all-time scoring list when the San Jose Sharks visit the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center on Saturday.

Thornton, 38, has 1,398 career points (386 goals, 1,012 assists) and is tied with Jari Kurri on the list. Thornton has six points (two goals, four assists) in a five-game point streak for San Jose, which is 2-2-0 entering the finale of its five-game, nine-day road trip.

Video: SJS@BOS: Thornton sweeps in loose puck for PPG

The Sabres, 2-1-0 in their past three games after beginning the season 1-5-2, hope for improvement on their power play; they rank 27th in the NHL on the man advantage (13.5 percent) and have allowed a League-high six shorthanded goals.

 

Players to watch

Sharks center Logan Couture has nine points (six goals, three assists) in his past five games after having one goal in his first four games this season.

Sabres forward Evander Kane has one goal in his past four games after having 10 points (five goals, five assists) in the first seven games of the season.

Video: SJS@NYR: Couture pots opening goal from the point

 

They said it

"Our game's been in a good spot. We're in every game, we're playing well, we're getting back to what we do well, and it's just tough when you lose like that [2-1 at the Boston Bruins on Thursday], but the other team's got a vote, too. They're pretty good." -- Sharks defenseman Brent Burns

"We've got to take what the game gives us. If we've got some odd-man rushes, we're going to have to try and execute off of them. That doesn't mean we get away from our defending part of our game and the decisions and the choices we make." -- Sabres coach Phil Housley

 

Sharks projected lineup

Joonas Donskoi -- Joe Thornton -- Joe Pavelski

Melker Karlsson -- Logan Couture -- Tomas Hertl

Mikkel Boedker -- Chris Tierney -- Kevin Labanc

Timo Meier -- Ryan Carpenter -- Joel Ward

Joakim Ryan -- Brent Burns

Marc-Edouard Vlasic -- Justin Braun

Brenden Dillon -- Tim Heed

Martin Jones

Aaron Dell

Scratched: Barclay Goodrow, Jannik Hansen, Dylan DeMelo

Injured: Paul Martin (ankle)

 

Sabres projected lineup

Evander Kane -- Jack Eichel -- Jason Pominville

Benoit Pouliot -- Ryan O'Reilly -- Kyle Okposo

Zemgus Girgensons -- Sam Reinhart -- Justin Bailey

Jordan Nolan -- Johan Larsson -- Matt Moulson

Marco Scandella -- Rasmus Ristolainen

Jake McCabe -- Matt Tennyson

Victor Antipin -- Zach Redmond

Robin Lehner

Chad Johnson

Scratched: Seth Griffith, Taylor Fedun

Injured: Nathan Beaulieu (upper body), Josh Gorges (lower body), Jacob Josefson (lower body), Zach Bogosian (lower body), Evan Rodrigues (hand), Justin Falk (undisclosed)

 

Status report

The Sharks held an optional practice on Friday; nine skaters and Dell participated. … Falk is close to returning for the Sabres and Housley said he'll have a better idea if he's game-ready on Saturday.

 

Stat pack

Eichel has no points in his past two games after having eight points (three goals, five assists) in his previous six games. … The Sabres do not have a goal from a defenseman this season.

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