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Sharks top Sabres, record first win of 2017-18 season

Sharks top Sabres, record first win of 2017-18 season
The Sharks (1-2) avoided becoming the franchise’s first team in 24 years to open a season with an 0-3 record Thursday, picking up their first win of the 2017-18 campaign by knocking off the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 at the SAP Center.

“You drop the first two, so to get that first win was very important tonight.”, that third one, you start thinking about it a little bit,” captain Joe Pavelski said. “Especially, opening up at home with [five] games here, it’s a little unusual

The 1993-94 Sharks, who won over the hearts of Bay Area sports fans by upsetting the Detroit Red Wings in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, opened the season with a franchise-record eight-consecutive losses.

But the Sharks won’t be joining them in infamy because they received a Herculean effort from their revamped third line, which scored two goals and combined for a total of six points.

With Tomas Hertl skating alongside Logan Couture on the second line, Chris Tierney slid in between Timo Meier and Joonas Donskoi on the third line, a combination that controlled possession of the puck throughout the game.

Meier recorded the game-winning goal at 14:30 of the second, breaking a 2-2 tie by slamming in the rebound of a Donskoi shot that squeaked through the Sabres defense.

Donskoi set up the Sharks second tally at 15:11 of the first, allowing Tierney to score a tap-in goal from the doorstep by feeding him with a no-look backhanded pass from below the goal line.

“We just wanted to go as a line,” Tierney said. “We felt like the last two games we didn’t really generate much offense,[url=http://www.flyershockeyshop.com/adidas-travis-konecny-jersey]adidas Travis Konecny jersey[/url], the three of us. We all got put together, coming from different lines,[url=http://www.flyershockeyshop.com/adidas-wayne-simmonds-jersey]adidas Wayne Simmonds jersey[/url], so we decided it was time to have a good game.

“We just worked hard tonight.”

The teal faithful should be cautiously optimistic about the trio’s performance Thursday as the Sharks will need bounce back seasons from Donskoi, Tierney and Meier to contend in the Western Conference.

“If we’re going to win games, we’re going to need contributions from our depth,[url=http://www.flyershockeyshop.com/adidas-claude-giroux-jersey]adidas Claude Giroux jersey[/url],” head coach Pete DeBoer said. “We’re going to have to be a four line team.”

Hertl scored the opening goal at 2:15 of the first, knocking in a Kevin Labanc pass from the side of the net on the power play. Jason Pominville scored both of the Sabres goals off odd-man rushes, exploiting miscues by the Sharks third-defensive pairing.

Martin Jones,[url=http://www.flyershockeyshop.com/adidas-shayne-gostisbehere-jersey]adidas Shayne Gostisbehere jersey[/url], who was pulled in the second period of the Sharks loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday, picked up his first win of the season, stopping 23 of the 25 shots he faced.

“We need Jonesy,” DeBoer said. “He’s like everybody else,[url=http://www.penguinsofficialhockey.com/adidas-mario-lemieux-jersey]Authentic Mario Lemieux jersey[/url], we’ve been spinning our tires a little bit. It was nice for him to get a big game. He made key saves at the right times tonight.”

— Joakim Ryan made the right decision when he reached a fork in the road 12 years ago.

After earning Sweden’s second-overall ranking in tennis for his age group as a preteen, Ryan faced a hard choice when he moved back to New Jersey in 2005: follow in his mother’s footsteps and attempt to land a spot on the pro tennis tour or pursue his passion and continue to play hockey.

The Sharks defenseman decided to bet on the underdog, a choice that was validated when he made his NHL debut Thursday

“I just played tennis when I was younger, never know where that would have went,” Ryan said. “I always wanted to play hockey, and obviously, I’m glad that that’s the sport I chose and I stuck with it.”

Ryan is drew into the Sharks lineup after being sent to the AHL Barracuda out of training camp because the team needed a left-shot defenseman to replace Paul Martin on Brent Burns’ pairing.

He skated for 21:24, posting an even raising while impressing his coach.

“He did great,” DeBoer said. “For a kid to come in, first game, I think he played 20-plus minutes. I thought he did a great job.”

Martin left practice Tuesday with a lower-body injury and is currently considered day to day.

Martin (ankle) will not return to the lineup against Montreal on Tuesday and is doubtful to join the Sharks for their four-game road trip, Kevin Kurz of The Athletic Bay Area reports.

If Martin doesn't join the team for its trip out east, he will not be back on the ice until San Jose returns home Oct. 30. Joakim Ryan appears to have settled in as Martin's replacement alongside Brent Burns. The veteran Martin isn't exactly an offensive force -- although it's hard not to snag a couple assists next to Burns -- so his absence will likely only affect fantasy owners in need of ancillary stats.

Timo Meier scored late in the second period, lifting the San Jose Sharks over Jason Pominville and the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 on Thursday night.

Pominville scored twice for the Sabres, who dropped to 0-2-1 to begin coach Phil Housley’s first season.

Martin Jones made 23 saves in San Jose’s first victory this season, holding strong after Meier’s tiebreaking goal at 14:30 of the second. Meier knocked in a far-side shot for his first goal of the season.

San Jose’s Tomas Hertl opened the scoring during a power play at 2:15 of the first. Hertl flicked his first of the year past goalie Robin Lehner.

After Pominville tied it, Chris Tierney scored with 4:49 left in the first period, poking in a shot between Lehner and the right post off a behind-the-back pass from Joonas Donskoi.

Pominville scored his second goal at 6:50 of the second, burying one at the end of a 2-on-1 break with Jack Eichel.

The Sabres blew a great scoring chance midway through second in a 2-2 game, failing to capitalize on overlapping tripping penalties on Justin Braun and Brent Burns that left them with a 5-on-3 advantage for 47 seconds.

Going into Thursday, the Sabres were 8-1-1 in their last 10 games against the Sharks. Buffalo is 24-8-6 all-time against San Jose.

Lehner had 23 saves. … Sabres F Evander Kane played in his 500th career game. … The Sharks placed D Paul Martin on injured reserved (ankle) and called up D Joakim Ryan from the San Jose Barracuda. Ryan made his NHL debut.

A 9-year-old A's fan whose home was destroyed in the Northern California wildfires has reached out to his hometown team in an effort to replace some of his most prized possessions.

Loren Jade Smith,[url=http://www.flyershockeyshop.com/adidas-travis-konecny-jersey]Authentic Travis Konecny jersey[/url], who lost his vast collection of A's memorabilia in the wreckage, penned a touching letter to the club. An outpouring of responses has followed.

A's president Dave Kaval, upon seeing the letter published by ABC7 News,[url=http://www.flyershockeyshop.com/adidas-wayne-simmonds-jersey]Authentic Wayne Simmonds jersey[/url], tweeted, "This is so touching. So sad to hear about their loss. We would be happy to completely outfit the family in new Athletics gear."

The team's official Twitter account backed Kaval,[url=http://www.flyershockeyshop.com/adidas-claude-giroux-jersey]Authentic Claude Giroux jersey[/url], urging fans to join the cause: "If you'd like to donate baseball memorabilia to our pal Loren," the A's tweeted, "please send items to the address below and we'll make sure they get to him."

The Tampa Bay Rays also showed their support for Smith,[url=http://www.flyershockeyshop.com/adidas-shayne-gostisbehere-jersey]Authentic Shayne Gostisbehere jersey[/url], tweeting a picture of a care package stocked with collectibles headed his way. Others are also rallying to rebuild the boy's collection,[url=http://www.flyershockeyshop.com/adidas-jakub-voracek-jersey]adidas Jakub Voracek jersey[/url], with former A's pitcher Dan Haren and Eireann Dolan, the wife of former A's pitcher Sean Doolittle, offering to ship him memorabilia.

Even Topps Company,[url=http://www.flyershockeyshop.com/adidas-jakub-voracek-jersey]Authentic Jakub Voracek jersey[/url], the producer of baseball trading cards and collectibles, tweeted, "can you send us info on how we can help" as Smith's letter went viral.

Smith's letter reads:

"I love watching your A's games. I want to be an A's player and I play at Mark West Little League in Santa Rosa. I played baseball in my backyard all day loving the A's and making up my own game. In my backyard they won six World Series in a row. But my house burned down in the Santa Rosa fire and my saddest things was my baseball collection cards,[url=http://www.penguinsofficialhockey.com/adidas-mario-lemieux-jersey]adidas Mario Lemieux jersey[/url], my 17 jerseys and 10 hats and my baseball from the game and also a ball signed by the whole team and Rickey Henderson and Bob Melvin. My brother and me have so much fun but he is only 9 months old. I am teaching him how to throw balls. I have every single A's card from 2000 to now but I am 9 years old. I had a major league baseball and it all burned up. So sad. I know you are not all together but hope they get this."

The A's have also joined forced with other Bay Area professional sports teams -- San Francisco Giants,000 to support fire disaster relief efforts. They've called on fans to assist in these efforts at youcaring.com/firerelief., San Francisco 49ers, Golden State Warriors, Oakland Raiders, San Jose Sharks and San Jose Earthquakes -- to collectively commit $450

Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.