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Ducks v. Sabres PREVIEW: Every Game Counts

Now’s the time to keep the foot on the gas.

NHL: Anaheim Ducks at Buffalo Sabres Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Game # 71

Anaheim Ducks vs Buffalo Sabres

Friday, March 16th, 2016, 7:00 PM PST

Honda Center

TV: PRIME

Radio: AM 830, AnaheimDucks.com

Your Enemy: Die By The Blade


It looks like the Anaheim Ducks are starting to get into the groove of things.

Corey Perry is beginning to finally round into form. He’s definitely loosened his grip on his stick and is finding AND taking more quality chances.

Ryan Getzlaf is getting in sync with his new linemates, found in Rickard Rakell and Ducks newcomer Patrick Eaves. Speaking of Eaves, acquiring the guy might have been the spark that was needed to get this team going. He’s not going to be your top scorer or flashiest skater—but he’s the guy you can depend on to slot into any position you need to fill. And where he’s been a difference maker is in front of the net.

Additionally, Ricky is continuing his career season, while we are seeing tiny glimpses of Sami Vatanen cira 2015.

And you can’t forget Jonathan Bernier’s outstanding performance (earning him this week’s NHL’s 2nd Star of the Week). So despite consistency still being a problem for the Ducks, we’re starting to see an overall improvement.

All this hopefully continues as the race for the Pacific heats up. San Jose has pulled away, but now it’s a fight to the finish. The Ducks have won four of their past five games moving up into second in the division. Let’s take the rest of the standings as of today below:

  1. San Jose Sharks (70 GP | 42-21-7 | | 91 points)
  2. Anaheim Ducks (70 GP | 37-23-10 | 84 points)
  3. Edmonton Oilers (70GP | 37-24-9 | 83 points)
  4. Calgary Flames (70 GP | 39-27-4 | 82 points)
  5. Los Angeles Kings (70 GP | 34-29-7 | 75 points)
  6. Vancouver Canucks (70 GP | 28-33-9 | 65 points)
  7. Arizona Coyotes (70 GP | 26-35-9 | 61 points)

I’m not sure about you guys, but just looking at the standings stresses me out.

Taking a quick look at tonight’s opponents...

The Buffalo Sabres are outside looking in as it comes to playoff standings. Buffalo has lost five of six after losing to the Los Angeles Kings 2-0 last night.

Center Jack Eichel offers hope for the future while making significant contributions now. He’s their lone bright spot, becoming the first Sabre in a decade to score 20 goals in each of his first two seasons. The Sabres don’t exactly have a problem up in front, but their blue line has left something to be desired.

The conclusion is that there is absolutely no room for error. There is a 1-point difference between the #2 seed, #3 seed, and #4 seed. Anaheim is looking to secure a home ice advantage, and at the very least a playoff spot. This means the Ducks need to look at every game, including tonight’s as a must-win.