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SABRES (3-14-1) at DUCKS (13-3-1)
TV: MSG B, BELL TV; PRIME
Last 10: Buffalo 2-8-0; Anaheim 7-2-1
Season series: Anaheim and Buffalo conclude a two-game season series tonight at Honda Center, marking the first meeting in Orange County between the clubs since Feb. 29, 2012. The Ducks earned a 6-3 victory over the Sabres in the series opener on November 2 at First Niagara Center. In that win, Corey Perry scored twice, Ryan Getzlaf had three points (1g/2a) and Emerson Etem recorded his first career multi-goal game. The Ducks are 9-14-4 all-time vs. the Sabres, including a 5-8-0 mark at Honda Center. Teemu Selanne leads active Ducks skaters in career scoring against the Sabres, earning 28 points (7g/21a) in 26 games.
Big story: Two teams at opposite ends of the overall standings meet as the last-place Sabres try to become the first visiting team to win at Honda Center. The Ducks opened the homestand Wednesday with a 5-2 win over the Phoenix Coyotes, extending their standings point streak to seven games (6-0-1), the longest current streak in the NHL. Anaheim's 27-point start to the season is just one shy of the club record through 17 games (28 points in 2006-07). The Ducks lead the NHL in 5-on-5 scoring with 46 goals in even-strength situations and rank second with 19 first-period goals. In addition, the Ducks' 56 goals overall are tied for the league lead with San Jose, while their 33.0 shots-per-game rank third. Following tonight's game, the Ducks will conclude the homestand on Sunday against Vancouver (5 p.m. PST).
Ducks: As if Anaheim wasn't playing well enough, the power play is showing signs of life. The Ducks had scored four times with the extra man in their first 16 games, but they did it twice Wednesday in a 5-2 victory against the Phoenix Coyotes in their return after the marathon eight-game, 15-day road trip.
"I think we can be a lot better," defenseman Cam Fowler said. "We've found ways to win without scoring, basically, any power-play goals. Special teams definitely has been at the top of our list of something we need to correct. It was good to get a couple of power-play goals [Wednesday]. They were big goals for us. It's always good to end a tough streak like that."
Sabres: After their best offensive night of the season in a 5-4 shootout win against the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday, the Sabres' offensive struggles resumed against the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday. Buffalo gave up power-play goals to Mike Richards and Anze Kopitar and were limited to 19 shots on goal in a 2-0 loss.
"We played pretty well 5-on-5," forward Matt Moulson said. "We lost the special-teams battle tonight. They had a couple of power-play goals and ours wasn't clicking very well. That was the difference."
Who's hot: Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf has two goals and five points in the Ducks' past three games. Rookie defenseman Hampus Lindholm scored his first career NHL goal on Wednesday night as part of a multi-point performance (1g/1a). In addition, the 19-year-old is tied for second in the NHL in plus/minus (+13), including a career-best +4 on Oct. 13 vs. Ottawa. No other rookie defenseman is higher than a +5 this season. Rookie goaltender Frederik Andersen is 4-0-0 with a 1.36 goals-against average. ... Sabres center Cody Hodgson has a goal and two assists in his past three games, as well as the shootout winner in San Jose. …
Injury report: Anaheim is missing forwards Saku Koivu (head) Jakob Silfverberg (broken hand) and Matt Beleskey (finger), defenseman Sheldon Souray (wrist) and goaltender Viktor Fasth (lower body). ... Defenseman Christian Ehrhoff left Buffalo's game in L.A. in the third period with a lower-body injury, but he indicated he may be able to play against Anaheim. Another defenseman, Mike Weber, has been idled with a broken thumb.
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