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Struggling Sabres begin road trip in San Jose
(SportsNetwork.com) - Still looking for their first victory at home this season, the pressure has to be mounting for the Buffalo Sabres.
Their upcoming three-game road trip out west could do the Sabres some good and they begin the trek looking for a fifth consecutive victory over the San Jose Sharks.
The Sabres have managed just one point in nine home games this season, falling to 0-8-1 in Buffalo following Saturday's 6-3 loss to the Anaheim Ducks. Cody Hodgson gave the Sabres a lead following a scoreless first period, but the Ducks netted the next five tallies to seize control.
Henrik Tallinder and Tyler Myers also scored in the loss, Buffalo's fourth straight and seventh in eight games overall, while Jhonas Enroth allowed all six goals on 29 shots faced.
"It isn't so much looking at a specific guy or a specific play. We have to figure out the areas that will give us more possession time and more time in the offensive zone," said Myers.
Buffalo is 2-5-0 as the guest this season and has not lost to San Jose since Jan. 23, 2010. The Sabres have won each of the past four meetings, including two in San Jose.
The Sabres came away with a 1-0 road win on March 1, 2012 in the most recent encounter thanks to a 39-save shutout by Ryan Miller.
Miller is 6-1-0 with a tie, two shutouts and a 1.97 goals against average in his career versus the Sharks.
Buffalo makes the trip out west without rugged winger Patrick Kaleta, who was placed on waivers Saturday after wrapping his 10-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head of Columbus' Jack Johnson on Oct. 10. Kaleta cleared waivers and was assigned to Rochester of the American Hockey League, where general manager Darcy Regier hopes the forward can adjust his game.
"This was a move we thought was necessary to help Pat change his game and preserve his career in this league," Regier said over the weekend. "We believe in Pat as a person and we hope he will continue his career in our organization and, if the circumstances are right, with the Buffalo Sabres."
Buffalo is also without forward John Scott, who is in the midst of a seven- game ban for an illegal hit to Boston's Loui Eriksson on Oct. 23.
Though the Sabres have had recent success over the Sharks, they visit a San Jose team that has lost just once in regulation this season (10-1-3) and is 5-0-1 at home.
That setback came on Saturday, when visiting Phoenix managed a 3-2 shootout win over San Jose.
The Sharks have lost back-to-back games for the first time this season, though each of the two setbacks have come past regulation.
Antti Niemi made 28 saves, including all seven he faced in overtime. San Jose had racked up 50 shots through regulation before failing to manage one in the bonus frame.
Logan Couture failed to log a point despite 10 shots on net, while Joe Pavelski and Dan Boyle had goals.
Boyle was playing in his first game since missing seven in a row following a concussion suffered on Oct. 15 when he was driven face-first into the boards. Despite the goal, the defenseman noted he is not yet up to full speed.
"I expect a lot out of myself. I had to be realistic too. I knew I was not (going to be) as good as I want to be and I think that's what happened. I definitely didn't feel like my normal self out there, but that is to be expected. I'll definitely get better in a hurry," said Boyle.
"I was half a second behind in my skating. I wasn't skating as well as I'd like and some of my decision making was a half-second slow. Like I said, it was a start."
Niemi is likely to get the start tonight and will try to beat the Sabres for the first time. He has lost both of his previous outings against them, giving up six goals on 55 shots.
11/05 11:05:31 ET