Deluge is what’s needed as Ducks beat Buffalo, 5-4
After a crazy game, here’s a crazy thought: Maybe the Ducks can get through all this injury trouble after all.
They took a 5-4 victory over Buffalo on Tuesday, beating one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference for their eighth win in a row at the Honda Center and their seventh in their last eight games overall.
They made it harder than it had to be, taking a 4-0 lead in the first 10 1/2 minutes only to watch it nearly evaporate, but they did it.
“Tonight wasn’t the prettiest effort throughout the whole game, but we were able to get that early lead and hold it,” said center Ryan Getzlaf, who returned to the game despite a nasty gash over his right eye that required stitches after he was hit by a puck.
In the end, a rookie -- Troy Bodie -- scored the big goal, getting the game-winner with 4:07 left in the third period. It was the second NHL goal of his career, only two days after his first.
“I was pretty happy just to get the first one,” said Bodie, who pounced on a Buffalo turnover and scored from the slot.
Perhaps strangest of all for the Ducks, they moved to four points behind the Kings for the final Western Conference playoff spot, and they did it with Teemu Selanne, Saku Koivu and Joffrey Lupul all out because of injuries.
“Again, we have to take the show on the road now,” Coach Randy Carlyle said. “If you want to be a playoff team, you’re going to have to win on the road.”
They will get a chance. Their next six games are away from home, where the Ducks are 7-12-5.
The Sabres were coming off a 7-2 victory at Phoenix on Monday and were 8-0-3 in their last 11 games.
But with back-to-back games, Coach Lindy Ruff started Patrick Lalime in goal, intending to give standout Ryan Miller a night off.
Lalime gave up four goals on 11 shots, and Miller relieved him a little more than halfway through the first period with the Sabres already behind 4-0.
The deluge of Ducks goals started only 50 seconds into the game, when Getzlaf scored on a rebound.
After Evgeny Artyukhin jumped on a loose puck and scored on a breakaway only 1:53 into the game, the Ducks had a 2-0 lead and a club record for fastest two goals to start a game.
They set the record for fastest three when Mike Brown scored at the 5:23 mark after defenseman Steve Eminger got the puck ahead to Artyukhin and Brown was at the corner of the net to convert.
The club record for fastest four to start a game fell at 10:26, when Bobby Ryan was credited with a goal on a deflection of a shot by Getzlaf after a review of the play, which unfolded with Ryan’s stick above his shoulders at one point.
The laugher turned into a stunner after the first-period intermission.
On the bench, Carlyle cringed.
The Ducks’ 4-0 lead shrunk to two goals in the first minute after goals by Tim Connolly and Clarke MacArthur.
Only 6:12 into the second period, the lead was only after Steve Montador cashed in on a Ducks turnover.
“You can’t feel good about it. Your emotions get the best of you,” Carlyle said. “I thought I kept them in check. . . .
“Players feel bad about giving up the third goal, so you better try to contain your emotions that are best suited to keep to yourself.”
The scoring subsided until Bodie’s goal, and the Sabres’ Jochen Hecht scored with 53 seconds to cut the final margin to one.
Jonas Hiller, 7-1-0 in his last eight games with a .922 save percentage and a 2.65 goals-against average, made 41 saves for the victory.