(SportsNetwork.com) – The Anaheim Ducks look to notch a sixth straight victory
on Wednesday night as they welcome the offensively-challenged Buffalo Sabres
to Honda Center.
The Ducks have not lost since a 6-4 setback in Pittsburgh to begin the season.
They won three straight on the road following that loss and have also claimed
the first two of a five-game homestand.
A victory tonight over the Sabres would give the Ducks their longest winning
streak since winning seven in a row from Jan. 3-15.
Goaltender Frederik Andersen has been a key part of Anaheim’s early success.
He has started each game during this winning streak, posting a 1.38 goals
against average and .950 save percentage after John Gibson was shelled for six
goals in the loss to the Penguins.
Andersen notched his first career shutout in a 3-0 win over St. Louis on
Sunday. He improved to 25-5-0 in his career, joining Ross Brooks as the only
goaltenders in NHL history to win 25 or more times over their first 30
The 25-year-old made 28 saves versus the Blues and on Monday was named the
NHL’s Second Star for the week.
Defenseman Sami Vatanen netted a pair of power-play goals and Matt Beleskey
set the tone with a goal 1:37 into the game against St. Louis.
“We’re starting to play like we want to,” said Andersen. “We came out strong
in this game and played well defensively and offensively the whole 60 minutes.
That was a really good team effort today.”
The Ducks also are inching closer to getting a pair of players back. Both
forward Dany Heatley and defenseman Bryan Allen were able to practice on
Monday. Neither has played yet this season, with Allen suffering an
undisclosed injury just prior to the start of the campaign and Heatley
sustaining a lower-body injury during the preseason on Sept. 28.
The Sabres hope to avoid a third straight shutout defeat as they head out west
to begin a three-game trip. They also will stop in Anaheim and Los Angeles
before traveling to Toronto to cap the swing.
Buffalo notched its first win of the season with a shootout decision over
Carolina on Oct. 14, but lost to Florida 1-0 on Friday and then 4-0 to Boston
the following day.
The Sabres unleashed a season-high 32 shots versus the Bruins, but couldn’t
get one past Niklas Svedberg. Jhonas Enroth made 32 saves in defeat for the
“I thought we had good spurts of pressure. We have to continue to find ways to
get pucks at the net,” said Buffalo forward Brian Gionta.
Buffalo has been shut out in back-to-back games for the first time since Oct.
9-11, 2003 and has never gone three straight without scoring a goal.
The Sabres’ could end their scoring drought if they can find a way to get
their power play going. They went 0-for-7 versus the Bruins and are 0-for-22
on the man advantage this season.
Buffalo has been held to a pair of goals or fewer in five of its six games
(1-5-0), including a 5-1 home loss to Anaheim on Oct. 13. William Karlsson
scored his first two NHL goals for the Ducks and Andersen needed to make only
Tyler Ennis scored for the Sabres and Michal Neuvirth stopped 39-of-44 shots
The Ducks have won three in a row overall versus the Sabres and four of the
last five meetings in Anaheim.