Couture’s goal nets Sharks win over Sabres
BUFFALO, N.Y. — The San Jose Sharks ended their road trip on a high note thanks to a sensational shot from their star forward.
Logan Couture scored with 3:52 remaining to lead the Sharks to a 3-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday afternoon.
After receiving a pass from Tomas Hertl in the left circle, Couture had a narrow window at the top of the net and placed a hard shot over Robin Lehner’s right shoulder to lead San Jose to victory.
“Big-time goal,” Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. “He’s been doing that all year for us. We need a big year out of him and he’s delivering so far.”
It was Couture’s eighth goal of the season, placing him in a tie with Toronto’s Auston Matthews for third in the NHL in goals. Couture also leads the Sharks in points with 11.
“I think Lehner saw me look,” Couture said. “He may have moved his head a tiny bit and just a small opening I was able to find. I had to make my mind up, pass or shot, and I think I made the right decision.”
Joonas Donskoi and Chris Tierney also scored for the Sharks (5-5-0), who ended their five-game road trip with a record of 3-2-0. Aaron Dell made 31 saves.
“To get six points is huge for us but we have to be ready coming home,” Hertl said. “We’ve got tough teams waiting for us.”
Up next for the Sharks is an emotional reunion with all-time great Patrick Marleau, who comes to town with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday. Marleau spent 18 years with the Sharks and is the franchise’s all-time leader in goals, points and games played.
Ryan O’Reilly and Jason Pominville scored for the Sabres (3-7-2), who were unable to build off their first home win of the season on Tuesday. Lehner made 28 saves.
“I can’t erase the effort that our guys brought today,” Sabres coach Phil Housley said. “It’s unfortunate that we lost. If we continue to work that way, we’re going to get out results. ... I’m happy about our effort. I’m not happy about a loss, obviously.”
Donskoi opened the scoring with a breakaway goal 9:12 into the first period. After Sabres defenseman Matt Tennyson missed the puck at the right point, Donskoi raced alone down the ice and beat Lehner with a shot to the glove side.
The Sabres appeared to even the score late in the first period but Jack Eichel’s power-play goal was overturned following a Sharks replay challenge. Officials overturned the goal because Sabres center Sam Reinhart clipped Dell’s right leg before Eichel put the puck in the net.
“It’s clear that’s what the rule is in place for is exactly that situation,” DeBoer said. “So I’m glad they got it right.”
Reinhart, unsurprisingly, had a different take.
“The rule’s there ... if the goalie can recover on the next play, that it should be a goal,” Reinhart said. “In my eyes and our eyes, he got himself back in and it went through him, so it’s a little tough to swallow.”
O’Reilly eventually evened the score 2:55 into the second period on the power play. The veteran buried a slap shot to the glove side for his fourth goal of the year.
Pominville made it 2-1 with 5:09 left in the second. After some good work in the offensive end, Eichel found Pominville in the slot for his sixth goal of the year.
Tierney made it 2-2 with 11.6 seconds left in the second. After a hard-angle shot from Melker Karlsson deflected and fell to Tierney, the center slammed the rebound into the net for his second goal of the year.
NOTES: LW Matt Moulson, D Taylor Fedun and D Nathan Beaulieu (upper body) were scratched for the Sabres. Moulson and Fedun were healthy scratches. ... C Barclay Goodrow, RW Jannik Hansen and D Dylan Demelo were scratched for the Sharks. ... This was the second and final meeting between the two teams this season. San Jose won the first meeting, 3-2, at home on Oct. 12. ... Sabres D Zach Bogosian (lower body) is considered week-to-week. Sabres D Justin Falk (undisclosed) is close to returning and is considered day-to-day.