By Michael Walters
The Anaheim Ducks(37-23-10) host the Buffalo Sabres(28-31-12). The Ducks are 1-0-0 against the Sabres this season.
The Ducks put together solid efforts in their last two games beating Washington and St. Louis. After downing the Capitals 5-2, the Ducks built a 2-0 lead against the Blues and held on for a 2-1 victory. Rickard Rakell scored his 30th goal and Ryan Kesler earned his 20th. Anaheim has now won four of their last five behind the excellent goaltending of Jonathan Bernier. The Ducks are in second place in the Pacific Division with Edmonton right behind them by one point.
Keys To The Game
Buffalo played last night so the Ducks will look to jump on the scoreboard early. The Sabres have struggled to score goals recently only lighting the lamp once in their last two games. The Ducks do need to pick up the power play. They are two for their last 15 and have slipped down to 18th in the league with an efficiency of 18.6%. One big reason for the Ducks recent success is Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. Getzlaf has three goals and nine assists in his last seven games. Perry has scored three goals in his last four games. Earlier this season he had two goals against Buffalo. If those two can stay hot, then more wins will keep coming Anaheim’s way.
Anaheim’s Projected Lineup
Jonathan Bernier, 14-7-2, GAA 2.62, SV% .913 (Confirmed)
The Sabres are currently 10 points out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Time is running out for them as they only have 11 games left to play. So far on their California trip, they are 0-2-0 losing to San Jose on Tuesday and Los Angeles last night. They only scored one goal in those two contests. They are going to need more than a goal tonight if they want to skate away with two points. Evander Kane leads the team with 25 goals. Jack Eichel has 20 goals.
Keys To The Game
The Sabres need to find a way to score again. They average 2.49 goals per game which is tied for 23rd in the league. They need to work on getting traffic in front of the opposing net and firing the puck more often. Buffalo also needs to work on their defense as they give up the most shots on net per game at 34.3. Lastly, Buffalo needs to stay out of the penalty box. Their penalty kill is 76.4% which is 29th in the league.
Buffalo’s Projected Lineup
Robin Lehner, 19-22-8, GAA 2.68, SV% .921 (Unconfirmed)
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March 17th, 2017