By John Vogl
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- There may not be a more lopsided matchup in the NHL than what's on tap tonight. Here are some numbers as the 10-1-3 San Jose Sharks prepare to host the 2-13-1 Sabres:
*The Sharks average 3.7 goals per game and allow 1.8. The Sabres score 1.6 and give up 3.1.
*The Sharks have a 19-8 scoring edge in first periods. The Sabres have been outscored, 20-2.
*San Jose's power play ranks eighth at 21.5 percent, and the penalty kill is fifth at 86.4 percent. The Sabres' power play is 24th at 12.5 percent, and the penalty kill is 12th at 83.0 percent.
*The Sharks have seven players with at least 10 points (Logan Couture 16, Joe Pavelski 16, Patrick Marleau 15, Joe Thornton 14, Tomas Hertl 11, Marc-Edouard Vlasic 10 and Tommy Wingels 10). The Sabres have two (Matt Moulson 13 and Cody Hodgson 12).
"This is the deepest lineup we’ll face," Sabres coach Ron Rolson said today in SAP Center. "They’ve got three centers and lines that could be the first line on any team in the league."
The Sabres, obviously, have a challenge ahead.
"They have a good core group of guys that’s been there for years," Buffalo defenseman Henrik Tallinder said. "They bring in young guys that are ready to play in the NHL, ready to take the next step. That’s what they’re doing well."
The Sabres will use Ryan Miller in net against the Sharks' Antti Niemi, who is 9-1-3 with a 1.73 goals-against average and .925 save percentage. Miller, who spent part of his childhood in San Jose, is 6-1-1 with a 1.96 GAA and .935 save percentage in his career against the Sharks.
"It’s going to be more about we do tonight and how we come out, what kind of start and how we want to prepare for the game," Pavelski said. "It’s important we know where they’re at, we know where we’re at.
"They’ve won a few games. They’ve got good goaltending. Their PK has been good. They have the ingredients to give teams tough times. It’s up to us at the end of the day and how we respond."
The Sabres' lineup will be:
Steve Ott-Marcus Foligno-Corey Tropp
Zemgus Girgensons-Johan Larsson-Brian Flynn
Ville Leino-Cody McCormick-Drew Stafford
Christian Ehrhoff-Mark Pysyk
Jamie McBain-Rasmus Ristolainen.
It's all-Russian scratch night with forward Mikhail Grigorenko and defenseman Nikita Zadorov sitting.
No matter who plays for the Sabres, it's an ugly matchup on paper.
"The most important paper will be the one that shows up on our desk after the game," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "We’ve got our work cut out for us today."
taggedHenrik Tallinder | San Jose Sharks