Sabres score four times in second period en route to 7-1 win over Sharks

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SAN JOSE, Calif. - Sandis Ozolinsh tripped over a teammate's skates and lost control of the puck in front of the net. He watched helplessly as Tim Connolly swooped in and fired the puck into the net.

That's the way things went on for the San Jose Sharks, who lost yet another game at home, 7-1 to the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night.

"For some reason I ran into him," said Ozolinsh, who also scored the Sharks' only goal. "I don't know if it was preparation or what but we didn't come to the game tonight. We made too many mistakes. We weren't sharp. I needed to be a lot better."

Ales Kotalik, Connolly, Michael Ryan and Paul Gaustad scored in the second period and the Sabres added to San Jose's home woes.

Gaustad scored twice and Derek Roy and Thomas Vanek also added goals for Buffalo, which enjoyed its best offensive showing on the road this season, two nights after losing 8-2 in Los Angeles.

"We wanted to set the tempo tonight and we stuck to it all night," Gaustad said. "We were playing individual hockey against L.A. It was a combined effort tonight."

The Sabres haven't been a particularly good road team, winning for the third time in 12 contests away from Buffalo. But the Sharks, who have the best road mark in the league, are among the worst at home. Their four wins at the Shark Tank match the Washington Capitals for the fewest in the league.

The seven goals allowed were a season high for the Sharks, who had a four-game winning streak snapped in the first meeting between the two teams in San Jose in nearly five years.

"I don't know that we were ready to play mentally," Sharks' Mike Grier said. "We got lucky to have that one-goal lead into the second. We made pushes and when a team pushes back like that it takes a long time to recover. They are one of the best transition teams in the league and they made us pay."

Ozolinsh's shot, with just under six minutes remaining in the first period, skipped off Ryan Miller's stick and into the net to give San Jose a 1-0 lead. Miller stopped 21 of 22 shots overall.

"Ryan made a couple of big saves," Gaustad said. "He always keeps us in games and gives us a chance, so we just kind of fed off that early."

Sharks right wing Jonathan Cheechoo left the game in the first period because of a groin injury and did not return.

Evgeni Nabokov, who has started 35 successive games for the Sharks, wasn't sharp but was also the victim of some misfortune. He stopped 21 of 25 shots before Dimitri Patzold replaced him at the beginning of the third period.

Roy picked up the puck along the board early in the second period, drawing Nabokov out of the net as he skated in and made the pass to Kotalik, who tied the game at 1.

"It feels nice to do what we did and bounce back the way we did," Roy said. "Obviously, the performance (in L.A.) was in the back of our minds. We're going to move forward from this and get better."

Three minutes later, Ozolinsh took the puck from behind the net and tripped on Devin Setoguchi's skates. Connolly's goal put the Sabres ahead, 2-1.

Adam Mair won the puck behind the Sharks net and found Ryan open at the top of the crease for a 3-1 Buffalo lead.

Campbell's shot from the point was redirected past Nabokov by Gaustad for the 4-1 advantage.

"We have not been responding to physical play lately," Gaustad said. "Tonight we did. It was big for us to win this one."

Roy scored against Patzold with just over seven minutes to play and Gaustad followed with a goal three minutes later.

Notes: - The Sabres are the only team that has not been involved in a shootout. ... The Sharks' Mike Grier played in his 800th NHL game and Joe Thornton played in his 700th. ... Buffalo won 12 of the 16 faceoffs in the first period. ... The Sharks had not allowed a second-period goal in eight of their last 11 games. ... The Sabres and Sharks last met in San Jose on Jan. 16, 2003, a 2-2 tie.



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