BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Anaheim Ducks
didn't get off to the start they were hoping for against the sputtering Buffalo Sabres
on Saturday night.
They more than made up for it.
After a disappointing first period, the Ducks put their foot on the gas to cruise to a 6-3 victory.
"Our character just took over. We didn't accept what we were doing out there," said Ducks forward Corey Perry
, who had two of Anaheim's six goals.
Perry and Emerson Etem
each scored twice to lead the Ducks (11-3-1). Anaheim is now 4-0-1 in its last five and sits atop the Pacific Division having played two more games than the San Jose Sharks
. Sami Vatanen
and Ryan Getzlaf
also scored for Anaheim. Jonas Hiller had 14 saves.
The Ducks came alive in the second period following a slow start. After falling behind 1-0, captain Ryan Getzlaf tied the game at 9:42 of the second.
"I think we got a little mad," Anaheim 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, and we scored another one right after."
The Ducks grabbed control with two more goals a short time later in a span of 34 seconds. Vatanen gave Anaheim a 2-1 lead at 15:18 of the second by ripping a wrist shot past Enroth from the slot. It was the first goal of the season for the 22-year-old defenseman and the third of his young career.
Etem made it 3-1 just moments later when he pounced on a rebound in front of the Buffalo crease.
"We didn't accept what we were doing in the first half of the game," Perry said. "When we got behind, that's when everybody realized what was going on and we had to play better. We were playing shinny hockey almost out there. We weren't taking the body. We weren't getting on the forecheck. Once we did that, we took the game over and that's our style of game anyway."
Anaheim had another quick two-goal burst later in the third period when Perry and Etem scored 39 seconds apart to increase Anaheim's lead to 5-1. Cody Hodgson
, Henrik Tallinder and Tyler Myers scored for the Sabres, who fell to 2-13-1 and have now lost seven of their last eight games and 14 of 16 to open the season. It's the worst start to a season for the Sabres through 16 games, who had previously never lost nine homes games in a row. Jhonas Enroth had 23 saves for Buffalo.
The Sabres showed some life in both the first and third periods, but were once again unable to put forth a consistent effort. Tallinder and Myers scored with the game already out of hand in the final period.
"That span in the second period overall hurt us tonight," Sabres coach Ron Rolston said. "I think it was that two goals that got us back on our heels and we didn't go back to executing like we did early on."
Said Tallinder: "We get scored on (and it's), 'Oh my God, now it's happening again. And they score another quick one. Come on, this is the NHL." Matt Moulson
, Buffalo's newest forward, was one of the few positives for the Sabres. Moulson continued his hot streak by setting up his team's first goal by Cody Hodgson. Moulson now has 11 points in his last nine games. He joined the Sabres last week in a trade with the New York Islanders
The Ducks can finally begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel as they reach the end of a brutal road trip that will see them play eight games in 14 days. The final game of the trip comes Monday at the New York Rangers
"Right now, we lost the first two games but we're 4-0-1 in the last five," Boudreau said. "It could end up being a tremendous road trip considering how many guys have been hurt every game on the road trip and how many days, just how many different cities."
One negative for the Ducks was the loss of Vatenen, who left the game with an upper-body injury.
NOTES: The Sabres waived RW Patrick Kaleta
. Kaleta recently returned from a 10-game suspension and has struggled with suspensions throughout his seven-year career. "This was a move we thought was necessary to help Pat change his game and preserve his career in this league," Sabres GM Darcy Regier said. "We believe in Pat as a person and we hope he will continue his career in our organization and, if the circumstances are right, with the Buffalo Sabres." ... D Mark Fistric was scratched for the Ducks. Anaheim was also without seven players on injured reserve, including veterans Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu. ... D Jamie McBain, C Mikhail Grigorenko and LW John Scott (suspension) were scratched for the Sabres. ... This was the 27th game all-time between Buffalo and Anaheim.
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