ANAHEIM – Mikhail Grigorenko broke through for the most productive game of his young career, but his performance was trumped by the captain of the Anaheim Ducks.
Ryan Getzlaf recorded a hat trick in the first period as Anaheim defeated the Buffalo Sabres 6-2 at Honda Center on Friday. It was the first hat trick of his career. Cam Fowler, Dustin Penner and Alex Cogliano also scored for Anaheim. Frederik Andersen stopped 25 shots.
Grigorenko, 19, scored his first two goals of the season for Buffalo in the final game of their three-game California road trip. Ryan Miller stopped 28 of 34 shots before being relieved by Jhonas Enroth to start the third period. Enroth made 12 saves.
“It was a disaster to be a part of,” Miller said. “Turn the page and move on. I’ve been a part of many disasters in my career.”
In his pregame interview, Sabres coach Ron Rolston stressed the need for his team to stay out of the penalty box against a talented Anaheim squad. However, they were unable to do that right off the bat.
Rookie defenseman Nikita Zadorov went to the box for hooking 1:57 into the game and Anaheim opened the scoring on the power play 2:11 in. They never looked back.
“We got in the box early and they had a couple power plays right off the bat and all their top players. We talked about that before the game,” Rolston said.
Buffalo now sits at 3-15-1 on the season with only one of those wins coming in regulation or overtime.
“I knew it was going to take awhile and it’s still going to take awhile for us to figure out how we need to play and get the identity that we want to have,” Rolston said. We just don’t have it right now.”
Getzlaf scored the Ducks’ first power-play goal and Fowler added another on the man advantage 9:53 into the first.
Grigorenko tallied with 6:32 to play in the first on a strong play in front of the net that was the result of the work Sabres forward Cody McCormick did behind the goal line.
Grigorenko had been scratched the past three games and found his way into the lineup against the Ducks when Rolston made the decision to scratch Ville Leino.
“I was just preparing myself for every game and even if I didn’t play, I was waiting for a chance and I was ready to go anytime,” Grigorenko said. “The coaches gave me this chance today and I thought my linemates [McCormick, Drew Stafford and Corey Tropp] played really good.”
Grigorenko hadn’t scored since he notched the first goal of his NHL career on Jan. 29 against Toronto.
Then Getzlaf potted a pair to close out the period, his third goal coming with 19.3 seconds remaining. Getzlaf’s four points in the first period tied a record for most points in a period by a Duck. He was the fifth Duck to score three goals in one period, but only the second to do so in the first period.
Teemu Selanne on Nov. 10, 1997 against San Jose.
Speaking of Selanne, he skated in what was his 1,400th NHL game on Friday. He, Niklas Lidstrom and Jaromir Jagr are the only European players to reach that milestone.
For much of the first period, Marcus Foligno, Steve Ott and Tropp had the tough assignment of defending Getzlaf’s line that included Corey Perry and Dustin Penner. Ott was on the ice for Anaheim’s first four goals. Defensemen Tyler Myers and Henrik Tallinder were out there for three of them.
Anaheim out-shot the Sabres 22-7 in the first period.
The Ducks didn’t slow down in the second as Penner scored 4:53 in, cashing in on a Perry rebound.
Grigorenko scored his second of the game on a wrist shot while on the rush with Tropp and McCormick to put the Sabres within three with 6:51 remaining in the second period. Tropp fed him the puck in the slot and he wristed a shot over Andersen’s right shoulder.
“I wish we had won this game and these two goals would actually mean something,” Grigorenko said. “But they didn’t change anything for the team. Probably just for my own confidence, probably it’s a good thing.”
Cogliano rounded out the scoring in the second period by scoring with 1:07 to play to make it 6-2. It’s the second time in a week that Anaheim put up six goals on the Sabres. They won 6-3 in Buffalo last Saturday.
Rolston opted to bench the line of Cody Hodgson, Matt Moulson and Tyler Ennis. Their last shift of the game came with 6:11 to play in the second period.
“We gotta work and we didn’t feel that the work was there,” Rolston said of the decision.
The Sabres head back home after finishing the three-game road trip 1-2-0. After a 5-4 shootout win over the San Jose Sharks, the Sabres were outscored 8-2 in their final two games against the Los Angeles Kings and Ducks.
“It was three-in-four and we didn’t start the way we needed to,” Rolston said. “We’ve gotta play perfect hockey games, especially against the best team in the League.”
The Sabres host the Kings for their next game on Tuesday at First Niagara Center.