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Preview: Ducks Return Home to Host Sabres

by Kyle Shohara @kyleshohara /

After a disappointing defeat two nights ago in Colorado, the Ducks return home to open a two-game homestand that begins tonight against the Buffalo Sabres. Game time is set for 6 p.m. PT on Prime Ticket and AM 830 for television and radio, respectively.

This is an unusually lengthy two-game homestand because the Ducks will not conclude it until Friday when the Montreal Canadiens come to town. Nevertheless, the Ducks are looking to rebound from a 3-1 loss to the Avalanche on Friday. A parade to the penalty box ultimately doomed the Ducks, as the club took eight minor penalties - six of which were slashing infractions. A late power-play goal from Tyson Barrie put the Avalanche up, 2-1, before an empty-net goal with under a second remaining in the game effectively put it on ice.

Brandon Montour scored his first career shorthanded goal (and first goal of the season) in the loss, while Andrew Cogliano drew his team-leading fourth assist (and sixth point) of the season. John Gibson, who stopped 17 of 18 shots in the first period before exiting the game with an upper-body injury, practiced in full with the team yesterday, but his status tonight remains uncertain. Reto Berra stopped 19 of 20 shots in relief of Gibson two nights ago and could be an option to start tonight, as could Ryan Miller, who has yet to appear in a game this season due to an upper-body injury. According to Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register, Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle said Miller is "very close" to returning, but would not specify when that would be. Meanwhile, Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf could miss his second consecutive game tonight with a lower-body injury.

Tonight marks the third contest of a four-game road trip for the Sabres, who opened with a 3-2 loss at San Jose on Thursday. This also concludes a back-to-back set that opened last night in Los Angeles (4-2 loss). Following tonight's game, the Sabres will travel to Las Vegas to take on the expansion Golden Knights on Tuesday.

The Sabres had a multi-goal scorer in each of their first four games of the season (Jason Pominville twice and Evander Kane twice), marking the first time the team had a player score at least two goals in four straight games since March 12-19, 2013. Unfortunately for Buffalo, none of those performances resulted in wins. The Sabres are one of two teams in the league still searching for their first win of the season. (The Arizona Coyotes are also 0-4-1).

Chad Johnson could get the start tonight after Robin Lehner went the distance last night against the Kings. Johnson has appeared in two games this season, going 0-1-0 with a 5.92 goals-against average and .816 save percentage.

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