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game recap

Sabres rally, finish road trip with win against Ducks

Okposo has goal, assist for Buffalo

by Dan Arritt / NHL.com Correspondent

ANAHEIM -- Kyle Okposo had a goal and an assist to help the Buffalo Sabres rally for a 4-2 win against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center on Sunday.

Forwards Jeff Skinner and Patrik Berglund and defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen also scored for Buffalo (5-4-0), which went 3-2-0 on a five-game road trip. Forward Sam Reinhart had two assists and goalie Carter Hutton made 26 saves.

"I just liked the response," Sabres coach Phil Housley said. "We were down 2-0. It could have went a different direction, but we were playing a really good hockey game at that point. We got that first one to get within one, some power-play goals, special teams were really solid tonight. But I just think this was the best game of the trip."

 

[WATCH: All Sabres vs. Ducks highlights]

 

Rookie forwards Sam Steel and Kiefer Sherwood scored for the Ducks (5-3-1). Defenseman Brandon Montour had two assists and goalie Ryan Miller made 41 saves.

Video: BUF@ANA: Okposo finishes passing sequence for PPG

Anaheim led 2-0 before allowing four goals over the final 24 minutes.

"The discipline issue crept into our game tonight," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "We took three straight penalties in a row and allowed them the momentum. Any time you do that in a hockey game, the other team senses an opportunity and they seized the opportunity."

The Sabres scored two goals 1:28 apart in the second period to tie the game 2-2, and Ristolainen's power-play goal at 3:57 of the third gave them a 3-2 lead. Berglund scored into an empty net at 19:43.

"When we are moving the puck quick and guys are moving back into position, we counter quickly," Housley said. "From that point, I think we had a shot mentality. Everything was going to the net and more guys were getting there and making it tough for Miller and we get rewarded."

Sherwood gave the Ducks a 2-0 lead at 13:32 of the second period, but center Ryan Getzlaf was called from tripping Sabres center Jack Eichel on the ensuing face-off.

"From that point on, they seemed to seize control of the game," Carlyle said.

Video: BUF@ANA: Ristolainen nets PPG to put Sabres ahead

The Ducks nearly killed the penalty, but Sabres forward Evan Rodrigues passed to Reinhart below the goal line and he centered a quick pass to Okposo, who beat Miller with five seconds left on the power play at 16:03 to make it 2-1. It was Okposo's first goal of the season.

Skinner, who moved up the top line with Eichel and Jason Pominville on Saturday and scored three goals in a 5-1 win at the Los Angeles Kings, tied the game when he took a centering pass from Pominville and backhanded a shot past Miller at 17:31 for his fourth goal in the past two games.

"I thought we worked well," Eichel said. "I thought we worked as a unit. I thought we were able to use the close change in the second period to our advantage. I thought we kept them hemmed in their zone and we tired them out."

Steel's first NHL goal gave the Ducks a 1-0 lead at 16:42 of the first period when he won a face-off in the Sabres zone and the puck went back to defenseman Hampus Lindholm. He passed to Montour on his right, and Montour's point shot clipped Steel's stick and went off the inside of the left post. 

"Got some traffic and it got a piece of my stick," Steel said. "I'll take it."

The Ducks allowed 44 shots on goal for the third time in the past four games.

"We need to be more predictable and play with the puck more," Steel said. "Whenever they're getting that many shots, that means they've got the puck for a good portion."

Video: BUF@ANA: Steel redirects shot to earn first goal

 

They said it

"Two complete games that we just played, and I thought that was the first time all year that we got down in a game and we just never changed the way that we played. That second goal could have been a back breaker for us, but we just stuck with it. We played the exact same way and we got rewarded." -- Sabres forward Kyle Okposo

 

"If you continue to give teams opportunities to practice their power play and consecutively, then you're going to give them life and that's what we did tonight." -- Ducks coach Randy Carlyle

 

Need to know

The five-game road trip was the longest for the Sabres this season. … The Ducks retired former forward Paul Kariya's No. 9 before the game. … Steel is the fourth Ducks forward to score his first NHL goal this season, joining Max Comtois, Ben Street and Sherwood. 

 

What's next

Sabres: Host the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; MSG-B, TSN2, RDS, NHL.TV)

Ducks: At the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday (8:30 p.m. ET; NBCSCH, PRIME, NHL.TV)

Video: Ristolainen pots game-winner as Sabres top Ducks

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