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Sharks hope to re-discover winning ways

by Jon Lane

SABRES (2-13-1) at SHARKS (10-1-3)


Last 10: Buffalo 2-8-0; San Jose 6-1-3

Season Series: The Buffalo Sabres and San Jose Sharks play the first of two games in 2013-14. The last time these teams played, Ryan Miller's 39 saves led the Sabres to a 1-0 win against the Sharks in San Jose on March 1, 2010. The teams meet again in Buffalo on Feb. 28.

Big Story: The Sabres need to get on a roll and quickly. Buffalo is off to its worst start to a season in franchise history, losing seven of its past eight games and 14 of 16 overall.

''We're facing a lot of adversity right now,'' Sabres center Cody Hodgson said. ''We can say as much as we want, but at the end of the day it's what we do on the ice. Right now it's not good enough.''

It doesn't get any easier in San Jose. The Sharks are thriving in a competitive Pacific Division, where they ended October tied for first place with the Anaheim Ducks, one point ahead of the Phoenix Coyotes and two ahead of the Vancouver Canucks.

"What are we? Fourteen games in? It's going to be that way all year. I don't see it changing one bit," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said.

Team Scope:

Sabres: The Sabres' woes continued Saturday with a 6-3 loss to the Anaheim Ducks, a game where the Ducks scored five straight goals after Cody Hodgson had given the Sabres a 1-0 lead in the second period. Buffalo was outshot 29-17, the sixth straight game that's happened, and barely tested Anaheim goalie Jonas Hiller.

"It's a mentality right now for us, wanting to make a better play, I think," Sabres coach Ron Rolston said. "I think that's the same with a lot of our turnovers now through the neutral zone. We want to make a better play than what is there and we're not taking what is there."

Sharks: The Sharks come off their first home loss of the season after five consecutive regulation wins. The 3-2 shootout defeat against the Coyotes also was the first time San Jose has gone two straight without a win.

In the loss the Sharks welcomed back defenseman Dan Boyle after he missed seven games with a concussion.

"He's maybe one of the top two or three quarterback defensemen in the League," McLellan said. "It's his poise, his experience, his knowledge and reads of what's going on."

Boyle scored, Logan Couture had a career-high 10 shots and Antti Niemi made 28 saves against the Coyotes.

Who's hot: Sharks center Joe Pavelski has scored goals in three straight games and is tied with Couture for the team lead in points (13). Niemi was named one of the NHL's Three Stars for October with a 9-1-2 record, a 1.72 goals-against average, a .924 save percentage and two shutouts. Center Tomas Hertl was named the NHL Rookie of the Month after he led all rookies with eight goals and 11 points in 13 games. Defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic (3-7-10) earned "Sharks Player of the Month" honors.

Injury report: Sabres defenseman Mike Weber (upper body) remains on injured reserve.  … Right wings Brent Burns (face), Raffi Torres (knee) and Adam Burish (back) remain injured for San Jose


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