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Rookie Karlsson's two goals pace Ducks past Sabres

by Joe Yerdon

BUFFALO -- The Anaheim Ducks wanted to play the perfect road game and they came as close to getting it on Monday with a 5-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center.

Rookie forward William Karlsson scored his first two NHL goals to lead the Ducks. Corey Perry, Matt Beleskey, and Ryan Kesler scored and goalie Frederik Andersen made 11 saves to help Anaheim earn its second consecutive win.

"That's one of the better efforts I've seen a team play. Not just offensively, but defensively as well," Kesler said after the Ducks outshot the Sabres 44-12. "We didn't give them much and the chances we did give them, [Andersen] was there. I think it was a full team effort tonight. It wasn't just one or two lines, it was everybody pulling the same direction. When you get that, you get a result like that."

Perry's power-play goal opened the scoring with 4:30 left in the first period. His goal came on the Ducks' fourth power play of the period and helped them settle into the game. Anaheim outshot Buffalo 17-3 in the first.

"Perry's goal was huge," Kesler said. "It's the difference between a 0-0 game and a 1-0 game where you're 0-for-4 on the power play in the first, so that was a huge goal. We were getting chances, we were getting zone time, but we just couldn't bury them and finally Corey got one."

The Ducks took a one-goal lead into the second period when Karlsson, a 21-year-old from Sweden, made it 2-0 when he scored at 8:15 of the second. Karlsson took a pass from defenseman Hampus Lindholm and fired a high wrist shot in the slot past Sabres goalie Michal Neuvirth. The goal came as a penalty to Sabres defenseman Mike Weber expired.

"I had a lot of time aiming there," Karlsson said. "I shouldn't have that much time, actually, but I got it in."

Karlsson followed that with his second of the game at 3:14 of the third period that gave the Ducks a 4-0 lead when he batted a loose puck out of the air and past Neuvirth. His goal came 18 seconds after Beleskey's first goal of the season made it 3-0.

"It feels great," Karlsson said. "I want to contribute every night. To get the two first goals helps me go and then [I don't have] to think about it in the coming games."

Sabres forward Tyler Ennis scored his second goal at 6:36 of the third. Ennis chipped the puck past Andersen after a pass from behind the net by Matt Moulson. The goal was the first scored by the Sabres in the third period this season.

"That's the first I think I've ever experienced that," Ennis said about the Sabres' 12 shots on goal. "So we need to learn from it. We need to be mad. We need to be angry."

The Sabres have been outshot by their opponents in each of their first three games and 131-57 overall.

"Sometimes if you have nothing good to say, it's better not to say too much, especially after an outing like this," Sabres coach Ted Nolan said. "That was like an NHL team playing against a peewee team. They dominated us from start to finish. They did all the right things. Everything that we could do wrong we did do wrong."

Penalties were a problem for the Sabres; the Ducks went 1-for-6 on the power play and had a penalty shot goal from Kesler at 12:25 after he was taken down by Sabres defenseman Andrew Benoit on a breakaway.

Anaheim will visit the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday.

"It's important to string wins together," Kesler said. "That's what good teams do, they string them together and they string them together on the road. With having this back-to-back here, we know the first one's important. You stress the first one and once you get that, you stress the second one. If we get [Tuesday] night, that's going to turn out to be a great road trip."

Neuvirth had 39 saves in his first start of the season and first career Sabres start at home.

"It was a tough game, a tough one to swallow," Neuvirth said. "It's a pretty good team over there, one of the best in the NHL and we can't have teams with great skills and the best players in the world like Anaheim or Chicago have 50 shots."

Ducks forward Patrick Maroon sustained a lower-body injury at 11:10 of the second period and did not return. Maroon was helped off the ice after he took a hit from Sabres defenseman Josh Gorges. He started the game on the Ducks' top line with Perry and captain Ryan Getzlaf, and assisted on Perry's first-period goal.

"Well, it was low. Low and ... I don't know if it was late, but it was definitely low," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said of the hit. "It wasn't a real hard hit but it was definitely a low hit.

"It could be a big loss but the one thing I've always loved about this team is the resiliency and we had an awful lot of man games lost last year, especially the first half of the year and we pushed through. We'll just rebound and see how tomorrow goes."

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