Ducks take down Sabres 4-3 in solid bounceback win

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Anaheim came out on top in a back-and-forth game to finish the road trip happy.

The Ducks headed to Buffalo for a date with the Sabres in the final game of their 4-game road trip. Buffalo would get the scoring started in the first on a goal from Jordan Greenway, but shortly after it would be Adam Henrique to score for Anaheim and even the score at 1. In the second period, there was a flurry of action from both sides. Tage Thompson took advantage of a Sabres power play to give Buffalo a 2-1 lead before back-to-back goals from Frank Vatrano boosted the Ducks into command. Once again the Sabres would strike back, evening the score at 3 with a goal from Zach Benson. Troy Terry, however, would have the last laugh in the second as his 16th goal of the year gave the Ducks a 4-3 lead. John Gibson and the rest of the team would do an excellent job holding Buffalo off in the third period, as they came up empty and the Ducks sealed a nice victory.

Here are three takeaways from the game:

Vatrano scores twice amidst career season

All-star Frank Vatrano was once again leading the charge for Anaheim as they leaned on him to get the team across the finish line. Against Buffalo, he was locked in and provided back-to-back second-period goals to help the Ducks erase one of their two deficits throughout the game. The first goal (25) came courtesy of a convenient clean-up on a shot that just missed from Mason McTavish. He was able to rebound and dump it into the net to tie the game for Anaheim.

Just minutes later, his 26th goal of the year boosted the Ducks back in front. It came on a beautiful feed from the ride side of the ice as Mason McTavish cashed in on the assist. He would finish with three total in the game.

As for Vatrano, his 26 goals are already enough to give him a new career-high in a season, and there’s still two months of hockey left to play. He’s secured back-to-back 20-goal seasons with the Ducks, a feat that Vatrano has failed to achieve with any other club throughout his career. His addition to the squad has proved quite valuable, and Monday’s performance was just the latest example of his magic.

Terry, McTavish have three-point games

While Frank Vatrano took care of the majority of the scoring, it was Troy Terry and Mason McTavish who were spreading the puck around the ice. The duo combined for five total assists in the win over Buffalo as they each assisted on the goals from Vatrano in the second period. Terry even added onto his impressive day with a score that would put the Ducks out in front for good, and it came on the third assist of the night from McTavish.

The score just trickled through against Buffalo goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, and it was Anaheim’s third of the period. Both Terry and McTavish have proved very valuable for the Ducks this season, as they both sit in the top three on the team in the points category. Terry (42) is just two points behind Frank Vatrano for the team lead, while McTavish (36) is in a tie for third with Adam Henrique. The duo did an amazing job sharing the puck as they diced up the Sabres defense and created opportunities for the rest of the team to cash in.

John Gibson dazzles with 34-save effort

When it mattered most, John Gibson was making the clutch stops to get the Ducks to the finish line. The 30-year-old goalie got the start on Monday afternoon for Anaheim as he looked to help his team earn their second win on the road trip. On 37 shots from Buffalo, he stopped 34 and was a huge piece of the puzzle in the victory. He was especially clutch in the third and final period, saving all 10 shots that he saw to fend off the Sabres for the last 20 minutes of play. Thanks to his performance, Anaheim escaped with their 1-goal lead and get to head back to California in a much better mood. After the game, Gibson’s teammate and friend Troy Terry had some high praise for him.

Terry even went as far as to call him the “backbone” of the team and acknowledged some of the ridiculous saves that he made throughout the course of the contest.

One of his premier moments came in the third period, as he fully extended to rob the game-tying score for Buffalo by snatching it with his left hand. It was an incredible save to keep the Ducks in front and allow them a huge sigh of relief. Although the team might be out of the playoff picture, Gibson has had some huge performances and played a critical role in the squad’s latest win.

The Ducks will now get to head home after going 2-2 on their road trip. They’ll have a day off before hosting the Blue Jackets on Wednesday evening at the Honda Center. Columbus has struggled so far this season (last place in the Metropolitan Division) but is coming off of a win over the San Jose Sharks. It will be a good chance for the Ducks to grab a second consecutive win and perhaps start a good streak moving forward.

The game is scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. PT.