Ducks @ Sabres MORNING THOUGHTS: Ready to Be Home

BUFFALO, N.Y. – The Sabres have suffered through plenty of bad breaks and bad luck through a 14-29-10 season, and Tuesday’s loss was a prime example of both. The Sabres gave up three goals in regulation — one of which was an own-goal from Ryan O’Reilly whose clearing attempt richocheted in off Robin Lehner’s stick, and one that was a rebound off of Lehner’s leg.

"You get caught thinking a bit more, it seems like the bad bounces happen," says O’Reilly. "I don’t know why it is. You tighten up. I think that explains us at home right now."

The Sabres have just six home wins, and a 6-15-4 record at home (including a "home" game for the Winter Classic).

"I think if we’re working hard and playing the right way, and doing the right things, you’ll eventually get your bounces," says Jordan Nolan, who saw plenty of good luck while winning two Stanley Cups with the Kings. "Sometimes, it seems like, for a few games, you won’t get your bounces. Usually the hockey gods work out a little bit. But if you’re not playing the right way, it’s not going to work out for you."

Head Coach Phil Housley had a simple explanation for the Sabres misfortune; the Ducks created their own luck by playing aggressively and keeping the puck in the Buffalo zone.

Sabres’ Housley shows proof that net-front presence works

"You look at the Anaheim goals, they had players going to the net," he says. "That’s what we need to do more of. I preach that all the time. First off, we need to have a shot mentality. We gotta have net-front presence."

The Ducks loss was another reminder of the Sabres awful play in overtime. The Blue and Gold have lost 10 of 13 games that were tied after regulation. Nolan says there’s less margin of error because of the 3-on-3 aspect of overtime.

Henrique’s OT goal lifts Ducks to 4-3 win over Sabres

"If you miss your chance, chances are the other team’s coming back with a 2-on-1," he says. "That’s the way it is. When a team has full possession, you have full possession, and someone gives you half a foot to work with, there’s a lot of skilled players in this league and they’re going to take advantage of that."

NOTES: Eichel’s goal was his 50th point of the season. He joined Gilbert Perreault, Rick Martin, Phil Housley and Christian Ruuttu in becoming the fifth Sabres player to score at least 50 points in each of their first three seasons. … With an assist on Rakell’s goal, Getzlaf reached 300 career power-play points. Only Teemu Selanne (410) has more in Ducks history. … Sabres D Jake McCabe played only one shift in the second period before leaving the game. He appeared to be hurt late in the first following a collision with Getzlaf.

The Sabres need a win against the Islanders Thursday to avoid going 0-5 during their five-game homestand.

The road trip is finally over for the Anaheim Ducks. Anaheim walked out of KeyBank Center in Buffalo victorious 4-3 after an overtime thriller over the Buffalo Sabres. The team concludes their East Coast road trip after going 2-3-0, making their overall record now 26-19-10 and 62 points. With the win, Anaheim’s Ryan Miller, who started in the net, improves his season record to 7-4 in his 19th appearance.

ONE AWFUL SABRES HOMESTAND By Andrew Kulyk and Peter Farrell

Anaheim started the game slowly, as the Sabres were up 1-0 after the first period of play. From there, it was back and forth scoring between both squads. In the second stanza, Anaheim put the puck past Sabres goaltender Robin Lehner twice.

The first tally on the board came from Rickard Rakell’s power-play goal within the first minute of play in the period. Buffalo responded with a goal of their own. Before the intermission, Ondrej Kase locked in the tying goal of the game within the last-minute before heading into the third.

“It’s a little frustrating,” defenseman Justin Falk said. “Obviously, we want to have that consistent effort and emotion in our game. We had that for the most part and battled back. We didn’t get the results we wanted. A couple bad breaks. There wasn’t really a lot of pretty goals. One of those games where you’ve just got to find a way to grind it out, and they seemed to get the bounce there at the end.”

With 8:30 left in the game, Corey Perry got credit for the first lead taking goal of the game for the Ducks. Perry’s missed shot was tapped into the net off of Buffalo’s Ryan O’Reilly. Later, it was O’Reilly who tied the game back for the Sabres within the final seconds, saving Buffalo’s chance to win in overtime.

Anaheim’s winning lineup in 3-on-3 overtime included Brandon Montour, Kase, and Adam Henrique. Henrique delivered the game-winning goal for the Ducks after a minute and a half into the extra period. It should be noted that Anaheim’s aggressiveness was felt throughout the game. Offensively, the team collectively outshot the Sabres taking 34 shots on goal, compared to Buffalo’s 33. The Ducks’ next game is this Friday, Feb. 9th against the Edmonton Oilers back home at Honda Center.

Anaheim recalled Nic Kerdiles back up from their AHL Affiliate, the San Diego Gulls. So far this season, Kerdiles has played in two games for the Ducks, while appearing in 23 for the Gulls. While with the Gulls, Kerdiles has posted 19 total points (eight goals, 11 assists).

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Posted in Anaheim