The Buffalo Sabres held the lead for a brief time against the Anaheim Ducks. It didn’t last long, however.
Cody Hodgson opened the scoring for Buffalo in the second period, but the Ducks roared back with five consecutive goals en route to a 6-3 win at First Niagara Center on Saturday. Buffalo’s lead lasted 2:27 before Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf tied it up.
Emerson Etem and Corey Perry each scored twice for Anaheim. Sami Vatanen also tallied. Jonas Hiller made 14 saves.
Henrik Tallinder scored Buffalo’s second goal 6:52 into the third period for his first as a Sabre since March 31, 2010. Tyler Myers scored his first of the season with 5:01 remaining in the game to make it 5-3. Perry scored again with 4:22 remaining in the game to end any chance of a Buffalo rally.
Jhonas Enroth stopped 23 shots for the Sabres.
“We beat ourselves. I think it’s just mental,” Tallinder said. “After you get scored on, you have to show that it’s not going to happen, this is not acceptable. And I don’t know, it’s weak."
Anaheim took the lead with 4:42 left in the second on the goal by Vatanen. Then Etem scored his first goal 34 seconds later to make it 3-1. The two quick goals seemed to shake Buffalo out of its rhythm.
“I thought we did deflate a little bit after they put us down 3-1 after the second period. That’s something we can’t have,” Myers said. “Things are tough right now. It’s easy to do that. It’s been happening a lot. When we get down, it’s almost like we have a ‘Here we go again’ mentality once it happens. We have to build to get out of that.”
Tallinder said that a lot of it comes down to the support on the ice between teammates.
“You have to have teammates who support you. If a mistake is made, another guy is going to be there and support you. We’re not doing it consistently for 60 minutes,” he said. “I don’t know. We beat ourselves, as I said before. We get scored on and, ‘Oh my God, it’s happening again.’ And they score another quick one. I mean, come on. This is the NHL.”
The Sabres did come out and had one of their better first periods of the season. They have admittedly struggled with slow starts this year, but skated into the locker room after the first intermission tied 0-0 and with the shot totals even at seven apiece.
“I thought we had a real even first period, but we just kind of fell off there in the second and gave them too many in the third, too,” Hodgson said.
The Sabres fall to 2-13-1 on the season and have lost their past four games. They have yet to win at home this year. Anaheim (11-3-1) wraps up their eight-game road trip on Monday against the Rangers.
“We’re facing a lot of adversity right now,” Hodgson said. “We can say as much as we want, but at the end of the day, it’s what we do on the ice and right now, it’s not good enough.”
Earlier in the day, the Sabres placed right wing Patrick Kaleta on waivers. Kaleta had just finished serving a 10-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head of Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson on Oct. 10. Kaleta lost his appeal with the NHL.
Kaleta has been fined and/or suspended six times in the past four seasons.
Sabres general manager Darcy Regier addressed the media before the game.
“I currently think there is a significant amount of work that he will have to do to redesign his game in order to give him an opportunity to play,” Regier said.
John Scott is also currently suspended by the NHL. He received a seven-game suspension for hitting Loui Eriksson of the Boston Bruins in the head on Oct. 23. He said he will not look to appeal.
With those suspensions, Regier said he felt like the NHL has been watching his club a little closer.
“Part of that is the organization, certainly to put the organization in a position to be able to play and compete and we don’t want to be under the thumb of the National Hockey League and I think we are a little bit,” Regier said.
“In fairness to Patrick, hopefully one out of this one of the opportunities he gets is working on his game and creating some space beyond how they currently feel and how they will view him in the future. I have no question about his ability to do that. I really believe he can change. He’s 27 and he has the ability to do that and be an effective player in the NHL.”
If Kaleta clears waivers at noon on Sunday, he will be assigned to the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League. Regier said the chances of Kaleta being claimed by another teams are “probably 50-50” and will depend on each team’s individual assessment of Kaleta.