By Matt Garcia
Last night the Ducks continue their east coast swing with a visit to KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York for a match-up against the Sabres. The Ducks have not had a whole lot of success on this road trip so far going 0-2-1 in the first three games of the road trip. They look to turn that around in what will be their first of two meetings against the Sabres this season. Buffalo is coming off a thrilling OT win against the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night in which they potted three goals in a span of 03:28 to tie the game before scoring the game-winner in overtime.
Randy Carlyle went with new line combinations. Ryan Getzlaf, Antoine Vermette, and Jakob Silfverberg formed a new line. Andrew Cogliano and Ryan Kesler skated with Andrew Shaw. Rickard Rakell centered Nick Ritchie and Corey Perry. The fourth line was Ondrej Kase and Jared Boll, who were centered by Nate Thompson.
Tonight’s starting line-up would see Getzlaf centering Rakell, Perry. The first good opportunity of the game would go to Anaheim as Vermette, and Josh Manson would go in on a two-on-one chance, Manson’s shot would be saved by the glove of Lehner. Wouldn’t take long for Anaheim to get another chance as Silfverberg would be in on a breakaway, but his bid would be sticked aside by Lehner. The first power play of the night would be awarded to Anaheim as Evander Kane would sit two minutes for holding against Getzlaf. Buffalo would be successful in killing off the opportunity, and immediately after the penalty expired Kane found himself going one-on-one with defenseman Cam Fowler, Kane would fire a wrist shot that Gibson would glove down. In the dying minutes of the first play would really begin to pick up as each team would get some good looks, first Buffalo would get Gibson scrambling, but would be unable to convert on past him, and the Ducks would be quick to counter as Silfverberg would weave between two defenders and manage to get a shot off that Lehner would turn aside. With 2.4 seconds left in the period, Perry would shine for the Ducks as he would look off two different defenders before going inside on the third one getting himself into scoring position before firing the puck past Lehner for his 10th goal of the season. Ducks would head into the intermission up 1-0. First period shots on goal favor Anaheim 15-11.
The second period would begin with Jonathan Bernier taking to the crease as Gibson would leave to the locker room to take care of a skate issue. The Ducks would begin the period on the attack and would draw a penalty just 37 seconds in as Perry would get tripped up by Tyler Ennis. Anaheim would be unable to convert on their second power play of the game, despite Kesler getting a grade A scoring chance that would wind up getting tipped out of play by a Buffalo stick. An attack from Buffalo would force Bernier to make a couple of good saves before Anaheim would get their first penalty of the game as Brandon Montour would get the gate for tripping on Justin Bailey. John Gibson would make his way back into the game and Bernier would sit after logging just under six minutes of playing time and recording two saves. The Sabres would make Anaheim pay instantly as Jack Eichel would rip a shot past Gibson right off the ensuing face-off to tie the game at one just two seconds into their power play opportunity. The Ducks would get another surge late in the period, and Silfverberg would come close to finding the back of the net with just under five seconds remaining, but Lehner would manage to get his pad on it to keep the game even at one. As the second period, horn sounds the teams will head to the locker room in a 1-1 tie. Second period shots would once again favor Anaheim 14-7.
Right off the opening face-off of the third period, Anaheim would storm the castle early and it would pay off as Perry would find Rakell camping to the right of Lehner and deliver a strike that Rakell would put top shelf to give the Ducks a 2-1 lead just 55 seconds into the period. The Ducks would go on the power play for the third time this game as Ryan O’Reilly would get a 4-minute double-minor for high sticking. The Ducks would convert 21 seconds into the double-minor as Vermette would re-direct a Montour shot from the point past Lehner to give Anaheim a 3-1 lead. The Ducks would remain on the power play but would be unsuccessful in the second half of the double-minor. The Ducks were not done scoring as Rakell would put a puck on net and Lehner would not be able to clear the puck out of harm’s way as Perry would come in and pot the rebound into the top of the net to give Anaheim a 4-1 lead. The Ducks would find themselves in a little bit of penalty trouble late in the game as Shea Theodore would get the gate for hooking with just under four minutes remaining in the game. The Sabres would be unsuccessful on their second power play chance of the night, despite getting a few good chances against Gibson. However, a little more than a minute after the penalty expires Rasmus Ristolainen would backhand the puck top shelf past Gibson to get the Sabres to within two. Bylsma would go on to pull Lehner with less than a minute to go in the game in an attempt to claw their way back into the game, but Andrew Cogliano would chip a puck into the empty net from center ice to regain the 3 goal lead. The third period horn would sound, and Anaheim would get their first win on the road trip. Third period shots on goal, Anaheim 15 for a game total of 44, Buffalo 8 for a game total of 26.
Final Score: Anaheim-5 Buffalo-2
The Ducks collect their very first win on this east coast road trip behind a very strong performance from Corey Perry who would tally two goals and one assist tonight to help propel the Ducks to victory. The Ducks coming off a disappointing loss to the Rangers on Tuesday wanted to right the ship especially after recording 44 shots on goal against Lundqvist, that would be the most shots on goal recorded this season. However, Anaheim would do the same thing tonight, but this time against Robin Lehner and the Sabres. The Ducks would once again record 44 shots on goal with a much better outcome as they would put up five goals to seal the victory.
First time in franchise history that Anaheim logged 44 shots or more in consecutive games.
Anaheim (29-17-10) is in Washington (38-11-6) on Saturday at 4:30 PM PT.
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February 10, 2017