Lucky Ducks: Anaheim Escapes With Win

Buffalo comes close after trailing by four, but cannot complete comeback

Buffalo had the opportunity to regain 1st place in the Eastern Conference. Washington won their game earlier against Detroit. They were down 2-1 in the third but rallied to win. The Sabres needed two points to jump back into first place.

Sabres Ducks Hockey
Paul Gaustad advances the puck into the Anaheim zone

Patrick Lalime received the start in net for the Sabres, allowing Ryan Miller to get some rest. Miller has to prepare for some of the leagues toughest teams in the next week. Buffalo will visit Los Angeles, San Jose, and Vancouver within five days, so Miller needs to be ready if the Sabres want to win.

This marks the only meeting between these teams, at least for the regular season. Buffalo comes in with a 8-0-1 record against the Western Conference and have 21 wins this season when scoring first.

The Sabres penalty kill has been on fire lately, only allowing one power play goal in the past seven games. Tim Connolly looks to extend his point streak to thirteen tonight. He had three assists in last night’s contest against Phoenix.

Lalime came into the game looking for his 200th career win, but he didn’t get off to a great start. He allowed two goals on six shots in the first six minutes. Ryan Getzlaf had Anaheim on the board just 51 seconds into the game. Then Evgeny Artyukhin scored on a breakaway to put the Ducks up 2-0.

Anaheim continued to pour it on. Mike Brown tipped in the third Ducks goal just over five minutes into the game. The Sabres got a taste of what they did to Phoenix the night before.

Lalime did not help his cause at all. The Sabres goaltender took a penalty for slashing Corey Perry in front of the net. Not only did he take the penalty, but Lalime then allowed another goal on the ensuing penalty. That ended the night for Lalime, who made 7 saves on 11 shots. Both teams had 17 shots in the first period, but the Ducks led after one, 4-0.

The Sabres got on the board early in the second period with a power play goal from Tim Connolly. With the goal, Connolly extended his point streak to thirteen games. Just 28 seconds later, Clarke MacArthur tapped home a rebound and the Sabres only trailed by two.

Former Duck Steve Montador continued the rally for Buffalo, putting the Sabres only down by one. Jonas Hiller allowed the three goals within six minutes to start the period. Buffalo outshot Anaheim 11-3 in the second period, taking all of the pressure off of Miller and onto Hiller.

Buffalo was in the game all the way until late in the third period. The Sabres had trouble getting the puck out of their own zone, and the Ducks capitalized. Troy Bodie took a wrist shot that beat Miller and gave Anaheim a 5-3 lead.

With the Miller pulled, Jochen Hecht took a pass from Jason Pominville and beat Hiller and Buffalo was within one. Only less than a minute remained and the Sabres were not able to score again. The Ducks escaped with a lucky 5-4 win on home ice.

Kevin Freiheit
Kevin Freiheit
I founded Buffalo Hockey Central in 2008 and have poured hours and hours into this site. Luckily, we have a great team of writers and designers who have helped keep this up and running despite a ton of out-of-pocket costs. We do this because we enjoy it, and we're desperate to see the Sabres win the Cup someday, but they have to make the playoffs first.
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