Sabres lose to Ducks in intense battle

The Sabres fought a tough battle Wednesday night but couldn’t hold off the Ducks enough to end the night with a victory. In fact, the Ducks scored five unanswered goals on their way to a 5-2 win at Honda Center.

Buffalo had the early start with Jack Eichel striking first (his 4th goal of the season), stuffing the puck around the left leg of Gibson at 7:35. His goal was followed up by an Anaheim holding penalty to Adam Henrique at 15:22 into the period, at 16:36 Victor Olofsson scored his sixth power-play goal of the season, assisted by Jeff Skinner and Sam Reinhart. Skinner recorded his 200th NHL assist on the goal, extending his point streak against the Ducks to eight games (6G, 5A). Olofsson is now the only player in league history to score his first eight career goals on the power play. He scored twice while on the man advantage last year and has six power-play goals so far this season.

At 18:07, Max Jones was able to net one, but the play went under review for offsides and the call was overturned, no goal. 33 seconds later (18:40), there was a definite goal scored by Adam Henrique (his 3rd of the season) assisted by Rickard Rakell. The Sabres led shots on goal, 19-11, at the end of the first.

Anaheim tied the game up 57 seconds into the second period. The goal was scored by Rickard Rakell assisted by Jakob Silfverberg. It took a little while but the Ducks would gain the lead. At 8:16 Johan Larsson was sent to the penalty box for tripping Sam Steel, and the Ducks earned their first Power Play Goal of the season, scored at 9:14 by Ryan Getzlaf assisted by Cam Fowler and Sam Steel.

Once Anaheim took the lead, the aggression really kicked in on both sides — in fact, a total of 42 minutes of penalties were issued throughout the evening. A line scrum broke out after Carter Rowney shoved Victor Olofsson into the boards.

Even the Sabres goaltender, Linus Ullmark, got into the ‘division rival’ type action by tackling Ducks left wing Nick Ritchie after the whistle. Ullmark was charged with roughing, served by Jimmy Vesey, and Ritchie served for roughing Vladimir Sobotka.

With just 12.5 seconds left in the second period, Anaheim secured their lead with a goal scored by Adam Henrique, assisted by Jakob Silfverberg and Maxime Comtois. Buffalo left the ice still leading shots on goal.

Buffalo start the third period on the power play, their seventh opportunity of the night, after Zemgus Girgensons was hit in the head by Korbinian Holzer following the end of the second. After a lot of back and forth play, Anaheim secured their win (5-2) with an empty-net goal scored by Jakob Silfverberg assisted by Josh Manson at 16:47. The Ducks improved to 5-2-0 overall and 3-0 at home.

Buffalo’s three-game winning streak came to a halt with their first regulation loss of the season. It also marked the Sabres’ first loss in Anaheim since Feb. 24, 2016. They are now 5-1-1, still off to their best start in a decade, and will continue their California road trip Thursday night against the Los Angeles Kings.

Abbi Kamano
Abbi Kamano
Penn State Alumni. Faithful & optimistic Sabres fan. On my journey to a full-time hockey career.
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