By Kyle Shohara
Morning Skate Photos
As the Ducks push toward their sixth consecutive victory of the season (and third of the homestand), they’ll have to do so 30 minutes later than usual. That’s because tonight’s game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. PT instead of the usual 7 p.m. start time on weeknights.
It is also Hockey Fights Cancer Night presented by Loma Linda University Health here at Honda Center. Joining a month-long, league-wide initiative, the Ducks celebrate Hockey Fights Cancer Night to raise awareness for the Loma Linda University Cancer Center (LLUCC). The interactive evening will encourage fan participation in a variety of ways, including the creation of “I Fight For” cards that recognize loved ones affected by cancer.
This will be the last time Anaheim and Buffalo meet in the regular season, and for the Ducks, they hope the end result is similar to what transpired on October 13 at First Niagara Center. On that Columbus Day afternoon, the Ducks romped the Sabres by a 5-1 score and limited them to just 12 shots, the fewest yielded by Anaheim since Feb. 13, 2011 at Edmonton (also 12) and only one shy of the franchise record for fewest shots allowed in a game (11, Jan. 23, 2004 vs. Minnesota).
Since then, the Ducks have gone on to win at Philadelphia, and at home against the Wild and Blues. The Sabres followed up the loss with a 4-3 shootout victory at Carolina, but have been shutout in two consecutive home games heading into tonight. The Sabres sit in dead last in the NHL, and have been outscored 22-8 thus far.
Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau made it clear that Buffalo’s record isn’t indicative of how they play. “This is the National Hockey League,” he said. “There are no easy games. Ever. Sometimes you get lucky and catch teams on an off night, and I think that’s what happened the last time we played them. I guarantee they’ll be ready to play tonight.”
Speaking from experience, Boudreau says that the first game out West for Eastern Conference teams is usually the most difficult for the host squad. “You’re excited to get on the road, and [coming out West] brings warm temperatures,” he said. “They’re all excited for the first game. It’s going to be the toughest. We expect no different from Buffalo tonight.”
In the first meeting of the season, rookie center William Karlsson recorded his first two career NHL goals, both assisted by Jakob Silfverberg, who recorded his first career multi-assist game.
“They have a good team with some great skaters,” said Silfverberg. “They have some size. We played them not too long ago, and we played a great game. It’s all going to come down to whoever works harder. If we’re not ready to put in the work needed to win games in this league, we’re not going to win this game. We need to outwork them and win the one-on-one battles.”
Judging by the line rushes this morning, it appears that defenseman Mark Fistric is set to make his season debut tonight against the Sabres. Fistric has been a healthy scratch for the first six games of the season.
“He and Bryan [Allen] were regulars on this team last year,” said Boudreau. “I don’t think you can win with just 20 guys. You have to have a 23-man roster. At some point, these guys have got to play. I have all the confidence in Mark, but our defense has played well recently.” Fistric is likely to replace Clayton Stoner tonight.
Boudreau says that although it’s a challenge distributing ice time when the team is carrying eight defensemen, it’s a necessity. “You have to get them acclimated in the games, or else they’re not going to be a part of it.”
MORE ON HOCKEY FIGHTS CANCER NIGHT
With lavender serving as the official HFC color (representing awareness for all types of cancers), Ducks players will have lavender HFC decals affixed to their helmets throughout the month. The first 3,000 fans to enter Honda Center tonight will receive lavender HFC ribbons to wear for the game. In addition, Ducks coaches, broadcasters and executives will sport lavender HFC ties in recognition of the evening. Ducks fans will have the opportunity to fill out “I Fight For” cards to honor those that have battled the fight against cancer during our Moment of Recognition. The cards will be available at the South Entrance and on the Main Concourse of Honda Center. Fans will be invited to display their “I Fight For” cards during a moment of recognition taking place during the second period.
The Anaheim Ducks Foundation will be selling limited-edition Anaheim Ducks player-autographed Hockey Fights Cancer mini sticks in support of Loma Linda University Cancer Center. Mini Sticks will cost $20 each and will be sold outside Section 212 starting at 6 p.m. Sticks will be sold on a first come, first served basis. Honda Center will donate 10% of sales of the Loma Linda – LIVE IT! Cranberry Zinger Wrap to Hockey Fights Cancer.
Fans can also contribute to HFC Night by participating in the in-game auction featuring Ducks memorabilia, as well as an online auction of Ducks game-used player-autographed sticks wrapped in lavender tape. To place a bid on the online auction, please visit www.anaheimducks.com/auction.