Score: Sabres 7, Ducks 3
Shots: BUF 44, ANA 22
Buffalo Sabres Goals: Tyson Jost (5), Tage Thompson (36), Peyton Krebs (8), Casey Mittelstadt (9), Alex Tuch (25), Zemgus Girgensons (6), Dylan Cozens (19)
Anaheim Ducks Goals: Kevin Shattenkirk (1), Cam Fowler (8, 9)
Plus 1: Jost Starts the Scoring
6:08 into the first period, Tyson Jost got a backhander past Anaheim goalie Lukas Dostal with assists from Dahlin and Jokiharju to open the scoring. No. 17’s fifth goal this season was his first in quite a while.
As much as fans enjoy watching the Skinner-Thompson-Tuch line make things happen, it’s refreshing to see one of the team’s other offensive groupings score too for a change. Maybe it won’t be so uncommon the rest of this season.
Plus 2: Thompson Makes it Two
Speaking of the team’s top line, TNT and Co. didn’t take too long to follow up Jost’s scoring opener. Tage Thompson got a slap shot in the waning seconds of Buffalo’s second power play to make it 2-0 Sabres.
Thompson’s 36th goal of the season, with assists from Dahlin and Skinner, puts him just two away from matching his scoring total from 2021-22. The only question now is not if No. 72 will exceed his goal stat from last year, but when.
Plus 3: Krebs Stops a Rout
After getting a two-goal lead in the first, the Sabres were on the ropes in the second, trying to fend off a ferocious Anaheim attack. The Ducks dominated the period’s first half, playing aggressively and outscoring the Sabres, netting three goals in six minutes to take a 3-2 lead.
Peyton Krebs answered back, scoring a wrister with assists from Quinn and Clague to quiet the crowd and even the score at 3. Krebs isn’t as productive as fellow former Vegas teammate Alex Tuch, but his eighth of the season came just when the Sabres needed it most.
Plus 4: Mittelstadt Gets the Lead
With less than two minutes to go in the second period, Casey Mittlestadt got a wrist shot on Dostal to make it 4-3 Sabres. Krebs and Samuelsson were there to help out and shut down the Ducks’ second period revival for good.
Mittelstadt, along with Krebs, has been quiet lately, only enjoying nine goals this season. Sabres coach Don Granato emphasized that all the team’s lines need to score more, not just the top forwards. Mittelstadt and Krebs rose to the challenge in this contest, let’s hope they keep it up from here on out.
Plus 5: Tuch and Pucks
Jedi13 had the Comment of the Game: “Thank God…mother Tucker.” Alex Tuch served two minutes for hooking Mason McTavish early in the third. Tuch no sooner left the box than he roared down the ice, getting a wrister to give Buffalo a solid 5-3 lead.
Tuch’s 25th goal this year is his first since Feb. 1. While Girgensons and Cozens closed out the game with a goal each, No. 89’s wrist shot set the tone for the rest of the period and doomed any chance the Ducks had to launch a late comeback. Tuch is the Eichel trade gift that keeps on giving.
The Buffalo Sabres got a much-needed win over the Anaheim Ducks, a rare victory in what’s been an otherwise frustrating western road trip. The team is still weak on overall power play scoring and lets opponents back in the game far too often.
While the Sabres beat a bottom-dwelling Ducks team they should have defeated easily, they can’t let off the pressure against tougher upcoming opponents. A Wild Card playoff spot in still in reach, if Buffalo can play consistently enough for 60 minutes to grab it.
The Sabres wrap up their Pacific Division road journey with a matchup against the San Jose Sharks Saturday night. Puck drop is at 10:30 p.m. ET.