Sabres, Lehner go up against hot Sharks

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Robin Lehner has been terrific in net for the Buffalo Sabres in recent games, but he's sure to have his hands full on Tuesday night when the San Jose Sharks come to town.

The first-place Sharks (33-17-3) have won eight of their last 10 games, with their only regulation loss coming Jan. 26 to Edmonton.

The Sabres (21-21-10) are 4-3-1 in their last eight games and have lost two straight, but the record would be much worse if it weren't for some heroic efforts from Lehner.

The goaltender made 37 saves in a 2-1 loss to New Jersey on Monday, 37 saves in a 4-0 win over Ottawa on Saturday and 42 saves in an 2-1 overtime loss to the New York Rangers on Thursday.

"He played phenomenal (in the win over the Rangers), and I think all year," Sabres center Ryan O'Reilly said after the win over New York. "He's been one of the most consistent players. He's given us a chance so many times."

In 35 games this season, Lehner has a 13-14-6 record, a .923 save percentage and a 2.53 goals-against average.

One of Lehner's best saves of the season came in the win over Ottawa, his former team. Shortly before the end of the second period, the goaltender came far out of his crease and extended his arm to make a spectacular glove save on Senators left winger Mike Hoffman.

The Sabres were unable to give Lehner any offensive support in Monday's one-goal loss to New Jersey. Tyler Ennis scored the lone goal in the third period for the Sabres, who were affected by Evander Kane's three separate minor penalties during the game.

The Sharks are coming off a 3-2 shootout loss to the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday but have been exceptional for the past month -- and the entire season, for that matter. San Jose had a six-game win streak in January and sits comfortably at the top of the Pacific Division.

"You are able to feel good about both your game and the team's game," said Sharks veteran winger Patrick Marleau, according to the team's website.

Marleau is coming off a personal accomplishment to remember. In a 4-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Feb. 2, Marleau picked up his 500th career goal. He became the first player in Sharks franchise history to score 500 goals. He ranks 44th in NHL history.

"When you hit a mark like this, you just start thinking about everybody who's kind of helped you along the way," Marleau said, according to the team's website. "Playing with one club and playing with a lot of guys for a lot of years on this team, it means a lot to share that with them and see how happy they are for you. Things are going good now. We're on a roll. It couldn't come at a better time."

Defenseman Brent Burns lead the Sharks in points with 55 (22 goals, 33 assists) and was named the NHL's third star for the month of January. Joe Pavelski is second in scoring with 46 points (17 goals, 29 assists).