The disparity between the Ducks and Buffalo last week was wide, with Sabres Coach Ted Nolan cracking that the Ducks made his squad look like a “pee-wee” team.
Anaheim outshot the Sabres (1-5) in Buffalo, 44-12, and won, 5-1. It was the second win in what is now a five-game winning streak.
Overconfidence is a pitfall the Ducks have already assessed for tonight’s 7:30 rematch at Honda Center.
“If we do [let down], we’re pretty silly,” Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau said. “We’re playing an NHL team, good players all the time. If we think we’re all that, we’re in much more trouble than one game. We know we’re going to be in a battle.
“I’ve been in these things many times. You play a bad game, coach calls you out, and the next game, you’re playing your best game, no matter what, and that’s what I think we’re getting from Buffalo. Buffalo’s going to be troublesome.”
Boudreau called the first meeting the Ducks’ “perfect game,” and Ducks defenseman Clayton Stoner said avoiding overconfidence “is our challenge tonight.”
“They weren’t happy last time, and we can’t take for granted it’s going to be the same game,” Stoner said. “They’re going to be giving it their all.”
ADJUSTMENTS: Boudreau again had goalie Frederik Andersen leave the ice first at this morning’s skate, indicating he could be making his sixth consecutive start despite the return of goalie John Gibson from a two-game weekend stop in minor-league Norfolk, Va.
Speaking generally about his game-by-game goalie decisions, Boudreau explained Monday that it’s based on “what’s best for the team.”
Defenseman Mark Fistric is expected to play in his first game of the season tonight, on the third defensive pair.
Stoner said as of this morning that Fistric would replace him and play alongside Sami Vatanen, who scored two goals in Sunday’s 3-0 victory over the St. Louis Blues, but Vatanen was feeling a bit ill, so Stoner said he may remain in there, with Vatanen getting the rest.
Fistric “was a regular on our team last year, and I don’t think you can win with just 20 guys. You have to have a 23-man roster, and at some point, these guys have to play,” Boudreau said.
Giving up one or fewer goals in three of the last four games was a good reason for Boudreau to keep the status quo, “but you’ve got to get them acclimated into games or they’re not going to feel part of it.”
INJURY FRONT: Forward Kyle Palmieri said he’s scheduled to see a doctor Thursday to look at the high ankle sprain he suffered late in the off-season, with the pain continuing to delay his debut.
Boudreau said he expects forward Dany Heatley (groin) to accompany the team on its four-game road trip that begins in Chicago on Tuesday, and defenseman Bryan Allen (lower-body injury) said he, too, could make that trip pending team approval.