BUFFALO – Emerson Etem and Corey Perry each scored two goals to lead the Anaheim Ducks to a 6-3 win against the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center on Saturday night.
After a scoreless first period, the Sabres got on the board first at 7:15 of the second when Cody Hodgson scored on the power play, his fifth goal of the season.
The lead was short-lived, however. Ryan Getzlaf scored his sixth of the season at 9:42 to make it a 1-1 game. He finished the game with three points.
"It took us about a period [to get going]. It's a frustrating concept,” Getzlaf said. “It's something to be expected when you're on a [15-day road trip], it's hard to get up for them all. I'm happy with our effort after that first period, getting back in that hockey game and displaying the will to win."
After the first period, the shots on goal were even at seven a piece. The Ducks outshot the Sabres 14-5 in the second and 8-5 in the third. Anaheim goalie Jonas Hiller finished with 14 saves.
"We've got to be ready to play right from the start,” Perry said. “If we play like we did in the first period, we're going to be behind the eight-ball in a lot of games. Thankfully Hiller came up with some big saves tonight. It's one of those things where we've got to be ready from the start. We've got to do something to get us going early in the game."
Defenseman Sami Vatanen gave the Ducks a 2-1 lead when he fired home a wrist shot from the slot at 15:18 of the second, his first goal of the season. Etem followed that up 34 seconds later with his third of the season to make it 3-1.
"We got a little mad,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. “We didn't play very good in the first period and then they scored the first goal and I think it was really important for us to lift our spirits by getting [Getzlaf], being the leader he is, coming right back and scoring the goal. I think that deflated them a little bit."
The Ducks were more pleased with their own effort on the blue line.
“The defense scored a goal for the first time this year,” Boudreau said. “So I thought that was good because that's a necessary evil. We need the defense to be good offensively."
Perry and Etem scored 39 seconds apart in the third period at to make it a 5-1 game. Perry beat Jhonas Enroth at 4:50 before Etem put Anaheim up by four goals at 5:29.
“There were some good things and some things we've got to work on but I think we found the scoring areas tonight,” Perry said. “That's something we haven't been doing lately and it's a good thing.”
Sabres defensemen Henrik Tallinder and Tyler Myers each scored their first of the season to cut the lead to 5-3, but Perry’s second goal of the night, and team-leading eighth on the season, at 15:38 on a breakaway put the game away.
“We take a lot of pride in our goals-against,” Boudreau said. “We gave up two [bad] goals. Not [bad] on their part, but [bad] on our missed assignment parts. Maybe that happens at the end of a 15-day road trip, I don't know, but it was sloppy. Maybe [we] did take the foot off the gas.”
For the Sabres, the loss is their fourth in a row and they fell to a League-worst 2-13-1 record. They’ll head to the west coast to face the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night. Enroth stopped 23 shots in the loss.
“We get scored on (and its), ‘Oh my God, now it’s happening again,” Tallinder said. “And they score another quick one. Come on, this is the NHL.”
The Ducks (11-3-1) conclude their eight-game road trip on Monday against the New York Rangers. Vatanen left the game Saturday with an upper-body injury and did not return.
"We lost the first two games. We're 4-0-1 in our last five, it could end up being a tremendous road trip,” Boudreau said. “Considering how many guys have been hurt every game on the road trip and how many days, how many different cities in 15 days is a lot."