BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made 28 saves and Casey Mittelstadt had three points to lead the Buffalo Sabres to a 3-0 win against the San Jose Sharks on Monday.
Luukkonen earned his second career shutout, and his second of the season, to give the Sabres their fifth win in eight games. Mittelstadt, Alex Tuch and Jordan Greenway each scored for Buffalo.
“I talked about how well we’ve been playing as a team, and that gives me confidence, too,” Luukkonen said. “I think that’s a key as a goalie, when you have confidence and you feel good in the net, that kind of boosts your own game, too. Just I feel like getting a couple good starts in a row helps a lot, too. Getting trust from your coaching staff, too. It’s all those things that kind of combine and give me confidence to play.”
Kaapo Kahkonen made 32 saves for the Sharks, who have lost two in a row and 14 of their past 15 games.
“I don’t think anybody’s thinking about losing streaks,” Sharks coach David Quinn said. “We’re thinking about getting some rest, getting to Chicago, and getting ready to play tomorrow night. You can’t play in this league that way, thinking that way. Obviously, we’ve had two long ones, but I don’t think anybody’s thinking of that. You’ve just got to live in the moment and prepare to play again tomorrow night.”
Mittelstadt opened the scoring at 11:34 of the second period when he fired a shot through a screen set by Kyle Okposo and put the puck past Kahkonen for his 12th goal of the season.
“Honestly, I’m not really aiming there, just trying to get it through,” Mittelstadt said. “I still don’t know where it went in. (Okposo) did a great job, he gave me so much room there. He dropped it to me and then drove the (defense) all the way back, (and) gave me enough room to make that toe-drag and the shot.”
Tuch made it 2-0 at 14:37 with a power-play goal. Tuch received a pass from Jack Quinn, after a pass from Mittelstadt, and fired a one-timer past Kahkonen for his 12th of the season.
“I don’t want to jump too far ahead on the power play, but they’re looking a little different in the direction that we want to go,” Sabres coach Don Granato said. “They still look anxious, still look a little bit uneasy. But they executed some of the things we’re working on more.”
Greenway scored into an empty net at 16:34 of the third period after he received a pass from Mittelstadt.
Sabres defenseman Mattias Samuelsson missed Monday’s game with an upper-body injury. Samuelsson was injured during the second period Saturday night against Vancouver.
Sabres: Host Chicago on Wednesday.
Sharks: Visit Chicago on Tuesday.
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