By NICOLINO DIBENEDETTO STATS Writer
Buffalo (3-14-1) at Anaheim (13-3-1), 10:00 p.m. EDT
The Ducks will try to maintain their status as the league’s only unbeaten team at home Friday when they try to capitalize on another meeting with the cellar-dwelling Sabres.
Anaheim (13-3-1) sits atop the NHL with 27 points following Wednesday’s 5-2 win over Phoenix. The Ducks attribute their outstanding start to lessons learned from last season, when they opened 13-2-1.
“We learned a lot from the way we started last year, and we have to continue to do what we did,” right wing Corey Perry said.
Last year’s early success also included 13 victories in its first 14 home games, and Anaheim is now working on a similar run. The Ducks are off to the franchise’s best start at Honda Center, winning six straight while outscoring opponents 27-10.
That streak doesn’t appear to be in jeopardy against the Sabres (3-14-1), who have dropped five of six after falling 2-0 at Los Angeles on Thursday.
The Ducks took the most recent meeting 6-3 at Buffalo on Saturday, when Perry and Emerson Etem had two goals apiece.
Perry also scored in each of the following two games, giving him a team-leading 10 on the season. He has six goals in eight career meetings with the Sabers, but has come up empty in the last two at home.
Ryan Getzlaf had one goal while setting up Perry twice versus the Sabres last week. The captain has earned 10 of his team-leading 18 points at home, including six in his past two games in Anaheim.
Jonas Hiller is likely to be in net, and he’s won all four of his home starts behind a 1.82 goals-against average. He made 24 saves against the Coyotes, but needed just 14 in Saturday’s victory at Buffalo.
The Sabres mustered a mere 19 shots against the Kings two days after a season-high 36 in an unexpected 5-4 shootout win at San Jose that opened a three-game California trip.
“I think we outchanced them in the five-on-five department,” captain Steve Ott said of Buffalo’s offensive performance against Los Angeles. “I liked our effort. It was the same as in San Jose. Our passion and pride has been way better in the last two games, and that’s the way we have to play to have any success in this league.”
Production from Matt Moulson would also help after the left wing came up empty on four shots Thursday. Moulson had two goals and four assists in his first four games after being acquired from the Islanders in a trade that sent top scorer Thomas Vanek to New York.
Moulson has eight points in 10 career meetings with Anaheim, including four in the last three.
Cody Hodgson, the team leader with 13 points, has three goals and one assist over his last four meetings with the Ducks - including one of each last weekend.