Sabres outlast Ducks in 10-round shootout, win 2-1The Associated Press — By DAN GREENSPAN - Associated Press
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — The Buffalo Sabres shook up their lines in hopes of finally breaking their Southern California malaise. The experiment had to carry over to a shootout, but the Sabres were finally rewarded with a win.
Zemgus Girgensons scored in the 10th round of the shootout to lift the Sabres to a 2-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night.
Ryan O'Reilly and Rasmus Ristolainen also scored in the tiebreaker to help the Sabres end a seven-game skid in Southern California. Buffalo had not won in Anaheim or Los Angeles since a 2-0 win over the Ducks on Feb. 29, 2012.
"I think we kind of stole one," O'Reilly said. "Every team on the West Coast always plays heavy, always plays hard. They don't give you much. It's good to at least get one."
O'Reilly also scored a bizarre goal for his 17th of the season and Anders Nilsson stopped 39 shots.
Ryan Getzlaf and O'Reilly scored in the second round of the tiebreaker, and then Ristolainen and Brandon Montour converted in the ninth round. Nilsson then stopped Nick Ritchie before Girgensons won it.
Ristolainen beat Jonathan Bernier with a shocking maneuver. He got the goalie moving to his left and then reached back around for a one-handed backhand that slid the puck into the open net. It's something Ristolainen has been working on in practice and proved to be crucial as Buffalo won for just the second time in eight shootouts this season.
"I actually knew he was going to do that," Nilsson said. "I wanted to see him out there, and he has done that move on me in practice a couple times and scored, so I had a feeling he was going to do it. I'm happy for him that it paid off."
Buffalo had scored just once in its previous six road games against the Kings and Ducks and were held scoreless five times in that stretch. But everything changed on a fortunate bounce off O'Reilly's skate in the second period.
O'Reilly and Ryan Kesler were grappling to the right of the net when Jake McCabe fired a long shot. Bernier got a glove on the puck but tipped it right to where O'Reilly and Kesler were tangled, sending it into O'Reilly's skate and into the open goal to make it 1-all with 4:25 left.
Jack Eichel picked up his 28th point since the start of February with the secondary assist on O'Reilly's goal.
After a largely invisible outing in a 2-0 loss at the Kings on Thursday, Eichel was much more active against Anaheim. Eichel's skating was on display from the start, creating two scoring chances in the opening 3:15.
O'Reilly only found out that he would be playing on a line with Eichel earlier in the day and enjoyed the opportunity to work with the second-year phenom.
"Getting to play with Eichs is special, his speed, what he can create," O'Reilly said. "For myself, it's, 'Open up the ice and get the puck to him.' You do that, help him get speed, he's going to beat a lot of guys."
Rickard Rakell scored and Bernier made 30 saves for the Ducks, who could not complete their first three-game winning streak since Jan. 10-14.
Rakell pounced on a rebound 8:12 into the first, picking up his 31st goal to put the Ducks ahead 1-0. Rakell has now scored as many goals in 60 games this season as he did in his first 192 games, including the playoffs, for the Ducks, with nine goals over the last 10 games.
"We outshoot them heavily and carry the play for most of the game," Ducks defenseman Kevin Bieksa said. "You don't hold your head too far down for this one. We didn't get the result, but we're happy with the way we played."
NOTES: Sabres RW Kyle Okposo (ribs) missed his eighth straight game. ... Ducks RW Ondrej Kase was a healthy scratch for the second straight game. The rookie has just one goal and one assist in his last 18 appearances. ... The Ducks lost to an opponent who faced the Kings the previous night for just the third time this season. The Ducks had been 7-2-0 against teams playing back-to-back games in Southern California.
Sabres: Visit the Detroit Red Wings on Monday.
Ducks: Visit the San Jose Sharks on Saturday.