By Michael Walters
The Anaheim Ducks(28-17-10) face the Buffalo Sabres(22-21-10) tonight. This is the first meeting of the season between these two teams.
The Ducks are currently 0-2-1 on this road trip losing to Florida and New York in regulation and also losing to Tampa Bay in a shootout. In the last game against the Rangers, the Ducks racked up a season high 44 shots on net, but could only manage one goal. Anaheim got the puck on net more, which was good but they didn’t get as many quality scoring chances. Anaheim is tied for second place in the Pacific Division with Edmonton. Rickard Rakell leads the team with 21 goals. Ryan Kesler is second in scoring with 18 goals. Jakob Silfverberg has 15 goals. Cam Fowler and Nick Ritchie both have 11.
Keys To The Game
The Ducks will look to continue to get more shots on net tonight against the Sabres. If Anaheim can work the puck deep and draws penalties, then they may have a good chance to score on the power play. Buffalo has the second worst penalty killing unit at 73.7%. Buffalo also gives up 33.8 shots per game. If Anaheim can generate more quality scoring chances, then they hopefully can get their first win on this road trip.
Anaheim’s Projected Lineup
John Gibson 20-13-8, GAA 2.30, SV% .920 (Unconfirmed)
The Sabres have won two of their last three games. They blew out Ottawa 4-0 and edged San Jose in a high scoring 5-4 overtime affair. They also lost to the New York Rangers 2-1. Buffalo is in sixth place in the Atlantic Division and five points out of a wildcard spot. Kyle Okposo leads the team with 17 goals. Evander Kane has 16 goals. Jack Eichel and Brian Gionta have 12 goals each.
Keys To The Game
Buffalo has had an up and down season, but they are still in the hunt for the playoffs. They have the third best power play in the NHL at 23.0%. They also have the second worst penalty kill. The Sabres need to stay out of the box and limit the Ducks shots on net. If Buffalo can score early, then they will really put pressure on Anaheim who has only scored four goals in three games on their road trip.
Buffalo’s Projected Lineup
Robin Lehner, 13-14-6, GAA 2.53, .923 SV% (Unconfirmed)
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February 9, 2017