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At the Horn: Sabres 2 - Ducks 5

Eichel and Olofsson score, but Anaheim fights back to spoil the first game of the California road trip

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak / Sabres.com

The Buffalo Sabres started off strong Wednesday night, but some loose play and lapses in the defensive zone ultimately allowed the Anaheim Ducks to muscle their way back into the game and skate away with a 5-2 victory at Honda Center.

Anaheim scored five unanswered goals - including three in the second period - led by a pair of goals from Adam Henrique.

Buffalo's power play, which entered the game No. 1 in the NHL, went just 1-for-8 on Wednesday. In 11:23 of ice time on the man advantage, they managed 7 of their 33 shots on the night. 

The Sabres certainly had their opportunities - especially early on - when Jack Eichel and Victor Olofsson scored to give Buffalo an early lead. Anaheim netminder John Gibson was busy early on, but Anaheim turned up the physicality and aggressiveness to put Buffalo on its heels for most of the game. 

Linus Ullmark made 26 saves for the Sabres.


How it happened

Just 28 seconds after the Sabres killed off Anaheim's first power play of the night, Eichel started out of his own end, outworked defenseman Josh Manson and cut in to beat Gibson 7:35 into the game.  

Tweet from @SabresPR: With the opening goal of tonight's game, Jack Eichel��now has nine points (3G, 6A) in nine career games against the Ducks and has extended his point streak against Anaheim to four games (2G, 4A).

Then with 3:24 remaining in the first period, Olofsson did what he does best: score on the power play. 
With Jeff Skinner poking around the front of the net, the puck eventually made its way to Sam Reinhart, who was able to find Olofsson locked and loaded for a one-timer in front. 

Olofsson's quick release extended the NHL record he set last game. He is now the only player in league history to score his first eight career goals on the power play. He scored twice while on the man advantage last year and has six power-play goals so far in 2018-19.

The Sabres put the pressure on early, but Anaheim eventually fought back against that early Buffalo pressure and generated some high-danger chances of their own late in the period. They were finally able to capitalize with 1:53 remaining when Max Jones scored, but the goal was called back when Buffalo won an offside challenge. 

So what did Anaheim do? They came right back and scored again. This one, a deflection in front by Henrique, counted and cut Buffalo's lead to one heading into the second period. 

Anaheim tied it 57 seconds into the second when Jakob Silfverberg picked off a puck in the corner and fed Rickard Rakell in front to make it 2-2. 

Ryan Getzlaf scored on the power play 9:14 into the middle frame to give the Ducks the lead. Then Henrique beat Ullmark again with just 12.5 seconds remaining in the period. 

Henrique now has 22 points (8+14) in 24 career games against Buffalo. 

Silfverberg added an empty netter with 3:13 left in regulation. 


What it means

Buffalo saw its three-game winning streak snapped and the team sustained its first regulation loss of the season. It also marked the Sabres' first loss in Anaheim since Feb. 24, 2016.

The Sabres are now 5-1-1 on the year and still off to their best start in a decade.

They'll look to shake this one off and move on to Thursday night's game in Los Angeles against the Kings. 


Roll the highlight film

Eichel's goal - his fourth of the season - is certainly worth watching again:

Video: BUF@ANA: Eichel steals, dekes Gibson for great goal

 

Coming up

The Sabres have a quick turnaround as they'll play Los Angeles Kings on Thursday in the second game of the three-game road trip. The Buick Game Night pregame show will get going at 10 p.m. on MSG with the opening faceoff set for 10:30.

They'll face San Jose at SAP Center on Saturday before returning home to take on the Sharks once again at KeyBank Center on Tuesday. Tickets for that game are on sale now.

And don't forget about '70s Night on Nov. 2. Over a dozen alumni are set to attend.

Video: '70s Night Preview: Talking about Jerry Korab

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