Sabres end skid against Sharks before Olympic break

BUFFALO, New York (Reuters) - The Buffalo Sabres scored three second-period goals to beat the San Jose Sharks 3-1 Saturday, snapping a six-game losing streak just in time for the Olympic break.

Paul Gaustad, Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville all had goals in the second to help decide the clash between division leaders. Kent Huskins scored in the third for San Jose, the Pacific Division's top team.

"It's been a tough grind," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff told reporters. "I thought it was as close to a 60-minute effort as we have had."

The game was the last for both teams before the NHL's Olympic break, which runs from Monday until March 1.

"It was good that we could go into the break feeling good," Sabres netminder Ryan Miller said after making 27 saves for the Northeast leaders.

"Even though it's been a tough stretch, feeling good about the way we played tonight against a good team can go a long way."

Miller, who will be a goalie for the U.S. team in the Olympic tournament at Vancouver, had not won a game since January 29.

"For a while there it didn't seem like much was going my way after pretty much nothing went wrong the first 40 games for me," Miller said. "It's funny how that works."

Miller and San Jose's Russian netminder Evgeni Nabokov dueled to a scoreless standoff before Buffalo's Gaustad used a pass from Henrik Tallinder to get the Sabres on the board 5:25 into the second.

"Lately I've been having a hard time finding the net," said Gaustad, who had not scored a goal for more than a month before getting one past Nabokov. "It's good to get the bounces sometimes."

Vanek made it 2-0 about seven minutes later and Pominville added the Sabres' final tally at 17:23 of the period.

Despite his 25 saves, the defeat halted Nabokov's NHL record streak of 11 consecutive road victories. He too will play in the Winter Games, competing for Russia.

(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina. Editing by Ian Ransom and Nick Mulvenney; To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)