ANAHEIM - One point is nice, but two were for the taking, and the Ducks weren't able to seize the moment tonight at Honda Center.
Facing a middling Buffalo team that had lost last night in LA, the Ducks fired 40 shots on net but were ultimately edged in the 10th round of a shootout in a 2-1 defeat.
"You don't hold your head too far down for this one," Ducks defenseman Kevin Bieksa said. "We played well. We didn't get the result, but we're happy with the way we played."
Rookie Brandon Montour put the Ducks in front with a beautiful shot in the ninth round of the shootout, but Buffalo's Rasmus Ristolainen came back with a slick deke and leave-behind move, beating goalie Jonathan Bernier with one hand on the stick.
Then after Anaheim's Nick Ritchie came up empty in the top of the 10th round, Zemgus Girgensons won it with another nice deke move, slipping the puck past Bernier with the forehand.
It spoiled a solid night for Bernier, who had 30 saves and whose only goal against came in the second period on a bad-luck play. Buffalo backup netminder Anders Nilsson gave the Ducks fits with 39 saves while stopping eight of 10 attempts in the shootout.
"We definitely had our chances, and so did they," said Ducks forward Rickard Rakell, who had Anaheim's only goal. "But it's 50/50. It's you against the goalie. They beat us tonight."
Anaheim got on the board 11:48 into the game when Cam Fowler's shot from the point was knocked down in front of the crease, and Rakell swept it in with the backhand for his team-leading 31st of the year.
Video: BUF@ANA: Rakell bats in a rebound with backhand
Buffalo tied it on a fluky goal with 4:25 left in the second, as a shot from the point was stopped by Bernier, but it deflected off the skate of Buffalo's Ryan O'Reilly and trickled over the stripe.
With the Ducks looking to regain the lead in the third, Corey Perry came within a whisker of doing it when his ripped slap shot from the right wing rang the far post.
Jakob Silfverberg had a chance to win it early in overtime, but his wrister from the wing was kicked away by Nilsson and deflected off the crossbar.
That gave way to a shootout that was mostly unsuccessful for both teams until those two Sabres converted in the ninth and 10th rounds.
"We outshoot them heavily and carried the play for most of the game," Bieksa said. "Their goal was off one of our guys and in on a lucky bounce. We had plenty of chances to score. Their goalie played well."
The Ducks had won four of the last five coming in and were looking for three in a row, but the single point kept them in second place alone in the Pacific Division (37-23-11) with 11 games left in the regular season. Anaheim turns right around and faces the division-leading Sharks in San Jose tomomorrow night.
"We'll build off of it," Bieksa said, "and play tomorrow against a good San Jose team."