ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Ryan Getzlaf and Anaheim’s power-play unit put plenty of work in leading up to Wednesday’s game against the Buffalo Sabres in trying to jump start the unit that had gone scoreless in the first six games.
Getzlaf and the Ducks ended up getting their first power-play goal at the most opportune time. His goal midway through the second period ended up being the go-ahead goal for Anaheim in a 5-2 victory.
“It is nice to get rewarded and have all the hard work pay off,” Getzlaf said. “Even early in the game, we had some good movement and shots but couldn’t score.”
Led by Adam Henrique’s two goals and Jakob Silfverberg’s three points (goal, two assists), Anaheim rallied after Buffalo scored the first two goals.
Rickard Rakell had a goal and an assist, and Josh Manson added two assists for Anaheim, which has won its first three home games for the first time in five seasons. John Gibson made 31 saves for his fourth win of the season.
Getzlaf gave the Ducks the lead at 9:14 of the second period when he fired a one-timer after a cross-ice pass by Sam Steel. It was their first goal with the man advantage in 18 opportunities, ending their second-longest drought to start a season.
“There’s still lots of work to do but it’s a relief to finally get one in there,” Anaheim coach Dallas Eakin said. “If we didn’t, then it becomes a focus and lots of unneeded pressure. Good on that unit for sticking together.”
Buffalo entered with the league’s best power play with nine goals in 21 opportunities, but was 1 for 7 with the man advantage. The teams combined for 42 penalty minutes in a mildly chippy contest two weeks into the season.
“Our kill was excellent. It was a pretty physical and contested game,” Eakins said.
Victor Olofsson scored his team-leading sixth power-play goal for the Sabres, who absorbed their first regulation loss after a 5-0-1 start. Jack Eichel also scored for Buffalo, and Ullmark stopped 26 shots.
“There was a lot of penalties on each side; I think the frustrating part for us was just the lack of execution on the power play. We had a lot of chances,” Eichel said.
Henrique got the Ducks on the board with 1:20 remaining in the first period when he redirected Manson’s shot past Linus Ullmark. He then got his third goal in the past two games with 13 seconds left in the second, making it 4-2 when he converted a feed into the slot from Max Comtois.
Silfverberg added an empty-net goal late in the third period to put it out of reach.
“We had a bit of a slow start but I thought we did a good job with some pushback and responding as we talked about in between periods,” said Henrique, who had his 17th game with two goals.
Eichel opened the scoring at 7:35 when he cut to the net and beat Gibson on his glove side. Eichel stole the puck from Manson near the Buffalo blue line, skated up the wing and then made a nifty move in front of the net for his seventh goal of the season.
Olofsson made it 2-0 nine minutes later when he took Sam Reinhart’s pass and buried a wrist shot midway through Buffalo’s power play. His first eight goals have come with the man advantage, which is an NHL record.
Rakell tied it at 2 less than a minute into the second after a centering pass from Silfverberg, who forced a turnover deep in the Buffalo zone.
“We had a couple turnovers that gave them momentum,” Buffalo coach Ralph Krueger said. “I didn’t feel that what happened with the physicality changed the way we were playing, it was just the fact that they got a lot of energy out of their goals.”
NOTES: Sabres LW Jeff Skinner got the 200th assist of his 10-year career with the second assist on Olofsson’s goal. … Eichel has three goals and nine points in nine games against the Ducks, along with a four-game point streak.
Sabres: Make the 30-mile trip north on I-5 to face the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday.
Ducks: Continue their three-game homestand on Friday against Carolina.