The Buffalo Sabres scored three second-period goals to beat the San Jose Sharks 3-1 on Saturday, ending a six-game losing streak just before the Winter Olympic break. Paul Gaustad, Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville scored to help decide the clash between division leaders. Kent Huskins scored in the third period for San Jose, the Pacific's top team. "It's been a tough grind," said Lindy Ruff, the Sabres' coach.
"I thought it was as close to a 60-minute effort as we have had." The game was the last for both teams before the NHL's Olympic break, which runs from today until March 1. "It was good that we could go into the break feeling good," Ryan Miller, the Sabres' netminder, said after making 27 saves for the Northeast leaders. "Even though it's been a tough stretch, feeling good about the way we played tonight against a good team can go a long way."
Miller, who will be in the US squad at the Olympics in Vancouver, had not won a game since January 29. "For a while there it didn't seem like much was going my way after pretty much nothing went wrong the first 40 games for me," he said. Miller and Evgeni Nabokov, San Jose's netminder, duelled to a scoreless standoff before Buffalo's Gaustad used a pass from Henrik Tallinder to get the Sabres on the board 5:25 into the second.
"Lately I've been having a hard time finding the net," said Gaustad, who had not scored a goal for more than a month before getting the shot past Nabokov. "It's good to get the bounces sometimes." Vanek made it 2-0 about seven minutes later and Pominville hit the Sabres' final goal at 17:23 of the period. Despite his 25 saves, the defeat halted Nabokov's NHL record streak of 11 consecutive road victories. He too will be in Vancouver, playing for Russia.