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Ducks Rally, But Still Fall In Buffalo
By Michael Walters
The Anaheim Ducks continued their road trip with a very early in game Saturday in Buffalo. The contest started at 9:30 AM in the morning Pacific Time. John Gibson was in net against Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen. Mason McTavish was back in the lineup after missing the game in Columbus.
The Sabres scored first and a held a 2-0 lead after the opening period. After an Anaheim power play attempt, Dylan Cozens took a pass and skated around Jakob Silfverberg shooting the puck over Gibson’s shoulder.
The Ducks fought back in the second period with a pair of goals by Trevor Zegras. After Mattias Samuelsson rang one off the post, Anaheim counter attacked and Zegras got the Ducks on the board. He beat Luukkonen short side just under the cross bar.
After a failed clearing attempt, the puck came to Zegras in the slot and he beat Luukkonen over the shoulder glove side to tie the game up at two.
Buffalo then answered back with a goal by Peyton Krebs. Rasmus Dahlin brought the puck behind the Anaheim net and then threw it in the crease. The puck went off Gibson, who was going down to cover the net, and the puck came to Krebs who backhanded it under Gibson into the net.
Simon Benoit would the tie the game up again for Anaheim late in the second period. He took a floater of a shot at the net and Luukkonen appeared to be screened by his own player as the puck sailed over him and into the net.
Ryan Strome and Peyton Krebs dropped the gloves at the end of the period. It was unfortunate timing as Zegras had a quality scoring chance at the other end that might have prevented a goal. The teams headed to the locker room tied at three.
In the third period, it was all Buffalo as they scored three times to put this game away. Victor Olofsson scored just over two minutes into the period and then added another about six minutes later. Ilya Lyubushkin found Olofsson at the side of the net for an was easy to start the period. The next goal was all Olofsson as he stripped the puck at center ice and then broke in on Gibson scoring stick side on a partial breakaway.
Krebs added on more goal for Buffalo late in the period. He got the puck at the blue line and then beat Gibson over the shoulder on his glove side. The Sabres led 6-3 at that point, which ended up being the final score.
This game had a similar script to the one in Columbus. Anaheim had a poor first period which found them again down by multiple goals. The Ducks then responded with a much better second period where they found themselves tied heading into the third period. Unfortunately this time the final frame went to Buffalo who did all the scoring to pull away.
First periods have not be kind to the Ducks lately. Anaheim has been outscored 16 to 3 in their last seven games during the opening frame. If they can get off to some better starts, then more wins will likely come their way.
On a positive note, Zegras continues to be red hot. He had two goals and one assist in this contest and he now leads the Ducks in points with 40. He also leads the team with 17 goals on the season. He has been playing with Max Comtois and Ryan Strome lately, who both had assists against the Sabres.
Zegras is currently on a five game point streak. He had five goals and four assists during that span.
Urho Vaakanainen did not play in this game. He was not injured, Coach Dallas Eakins wanted to get Nathan Beaulieu in for a game. It sounds like the coach might be trying to rotate the bottom defensive pairing more often going forward.
The Ducks face the Coyotes in Arizona on Tuesday at 7 PM PT.
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January 22nd, 2023