First Period Recap: This was the slowest start to a game that I have seen in a while. The Ducks won the opening draw and immediately began turning the puck over in the defensive zone. Missed pass after missed pass resulted in a few chances for the Sabres early. After playing defense for a good two straight minutes the Ducks started to wake up a bit. This short stint in the offensive end of the ice ended quickly when the Ducks took the first penalty of the game – a crosschecking call against Francois Beauchemin, who nailed Steve Ott against the boards in the neutral zone.
On the power play Buffalo looked bad, but this doesn't mean the Ducks looked good by any means. The Ducks killed the power play but were still turning the puck over and giving the Sabres chances. The defense was looking particularly slow often allowing the Sabres to enter the zone up the middle. After an extensive amount of sloppy play by both teams the Ducks got their first power play (*sarcastic cheers*) thanks to Henrik Tallinder who hooked Corey Perry.
As expected the power play was no better. Zone entry was a problem that resulted in a one shot toward the goal before the puck was cleared down the ice. Buffalo took this chance to take another penalty and send the Ducks on a 5-on-3 power play for 28 seconds. The power play failed miserably and the period ended with the shots (7-7) and score (0-0) tied.
Second Period Recap: The Sabres easily killed off the remaining seconds of the Ducks power play (What a surprise…). After a few minutes of play similar to the first period, the Peter Holland took a penalty for tripping Zemgus Girgensons (WHO?). The Sabres were able to capitalize on their power play with some nice passing below the goal line to a wide open Cody Hodgson. The thought of losing to Buffalo must have scared the Ducks because they came back quickly. Two minutes after the Buffalo goal Ryan Getzlaf scored on a sweet give-and-go play with Dustin Penner tying the game at one.
It was all Ducks after the Getzlaf goal as Anaheim began to get more chances in the Buffalo end, making it difficult for the Sabres to clear their zone. On a rush up the ice, Andrew Cogliano made a pass to Sami Vatanen flying up the middle. Vatanen shot the puck over Jhonas Enroth's glove for a 2-1 Ducks lead. This goal was the first goal scored by a Ducks defenseman this season. On the next shift, just 34 seconds later, Emerson Etem scored off a rebound caused by a hard shot from Mathieu Perreault.
The Ducks finished off the period getting more chances on Enroth while limiting the Sabres to just five shots in the period.
Third Period Recap: The Ducks came out for the third period minus Sami Vatanen who did not return to the game. With five defensemen the Ducks continued their solid play. Corey Perry scored his first goal of the game with a laser of a shot that went top corner. The goal came off a great feed from Cam Fowler who had a solid offensive night. Just under a minute later, Etem scored his second goal of the game with the help of Perreault again.
The lead score was 5-1 Ducks. This is where the team got caught sitting on a lead. There were some lazy passes and clearing attempts in the Ducks' zone. It did not take long for Henrik Tallinder to score for Buffalo. This did not change the way the Ducks played as they continued to sit on the three-goal lead. With just under five minutes to play, Buffalo scored again – Tyler Myers took advantage of a defensive zone turnover right in front of Jonas Hiller.
With the Ducks falling asleep at the wheel, Bruce Boudreau took a time out to snap some sense into the team. This pause worked as the Ducks scored on the very next shift. Getzlaf sent a rink-wide pass to Perry who was in behind the defense. Perry skated in on Enroth and scored a beautiful goal to restore the three-goal lead (6-3).
Now that Etem and Perry had two goals each, Boudreau put them out on the ice every chance he could. In the final minute of the game Etem almost got his first NHL hat trick while playing on a line with Perry, but Enroth made the stop. The game ended 6-3 in favor of the Ducks.
The Good: The Ducks got scoring from the defense and managed to wake up after a slow start to the game. Emerson Etem and Corey Perry had two goals each and were buzzing around the net all night. The defense was solid and there was one play where Bryan Allen dangled through the neutral zone to carry the puck past the blue line that was pretty hilarious. Ryan Getzlaf had a three-point game to top off a great night.
The Bad: The Ducks were without Sami Vatanen in the third period. He was interviewed during the second intermission and seemed to be fine. There was no explanation for why he left the game or what, if any, injury he had sustained. The injury bug has already sidelined Jakub Silfverberg, Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne on this road trip. Hopefully Vatanen will be back to play against the Rangers on Monday.
The Ugly: THE POWER PLAY IS STILL HORRIBLE!!!!!!!! The Ducks were 0-for-3 on the power play, including a brief 5-on-3 in the first period. Eventually the Ducks are going to need a power play goal to win some games. Not only did the power play stink it up, the Ducks also allowed a power play goal to the Sabres' 25th ranked power play. Not good, not good at all.
3rd MVD: Corey Perry – Although he scored two goals in the game, I have him as the third MVD because of his power play performance. The guy is great in 5-vs.-5 play but can't seem to get the bounces or the chances on the power play. Perry's second goal of the game was a nice one and it's great to see him scoring those highlight-reel-quality goals.
2nd MVD: Emerson Etem – Etem was laying the body on everyone he could touch. He skated hard every shift and was a member of the line that had the best opportunities for the Ducks in the flat first period. Etem was in the right place at the right time for his first goal of the game, and he proved that he has a lot of skill with his second.
1st MVD(s): Ryan Getzlaf and Mathieu Perreault – These guys were on their game tonight. Getzlaf finished the night with a goal and two assists, and Perreault had two assists and was a plus-3 on the night. Getzlaf's stretch pass to Corey Perry for the breakaway goal was amazing. The twins were all over the Sabres in the final period. Perreault and Etem had some great chemistry as well. Perreault made some nice plays that resulted in both Etem goals.
Next Game: Monday, November 4 4:30 p.m. PST @ New York Rangers