Sabres-Ducks Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated February 28, 2012
The Buffalo Sabres and Anaheim Ducks have been making strong pushes since last month, but both teams suffered losses their last time out. They know they can't afford too many more defeats if they want to overcome their poor starts and make the playoffs. The clubs close out their season series with the Ducks looking to avoid a third straight loss to the Sabres on Wednesday night at Honda Center. Anaheim (27-26-10) has been rolling since finally getting itself together in early January, going 17-4-4 in its last 25 games. The Ducks, though, still have a lot of work to do to overcome their rough start, as they're in 13th place in the Western Conference. As well as they've been playing, defeats such as Monday's 4-1 loss at Colorado may prove very costly. The Ducks were seeking their third straight win but faded late against another team that has been playing desperate hockey as it tries to earn a postseason berth. Anaheim was outscored 3-0 in the third period, perhaps a result of fatigue from playing for the third time in five nights. "It's a grind for every team," center Rod Pelley said. "Every game is a playoff-atmosphere game and we're in a position where we can't have a night off or be sluggish or not have energy. Unfortunately, we can't afford that right now." The Ducks, who went 6-2-2 during a stretch in which they played all but one game on the road, didn't make any moves at the trade deadline, preferring to stick with the roster that's worked them back into contention. They'll play their next two and three of four at home, where they've gone 9-1-1 in their last 11. Buffalo (27-27-8) has also played much better of late, going 8-3-3 in its last 14, but the Sabres also face a predicament in having to leapfrog numerous teams to make the playoffs. They are in 12th place in the East and are also trying to hold off three clubs that are just a few points behind them. The Sabres have been off since Saturday, when they managed to pick up a point but were unable to hold a third-period lead in a 3-2 overtime loss to the New York Rangers. Drew Stafford's second goal of the game 44 seconds into the third put Buffalo up 2-1, but the Rangers answered less than 5 minutes later. "We worked hard and we battled for a point," Stafford said. "We just have to keep our focus and doing our best. It's an uphill climb." The Sabres, who had won three straight, have gone 3-0-2 in their last five. "We could have won the game," coach Lindy Ruff said. "We need those extra points." Cody Hodgson, acquired from Vancouver before the deadline Monday for fellow rookie forward Zack Kassian, could make his Sabres debut in this game. Anaheim goaltender Jonas Hiller can tie a team record by making his 23rd straight start Wednesday, a mark held by Jean-Sebastien Giguere and Guy Hebert. Hiller came into Monday having posted a 1.69 goals-against average in his previous 12 games. Buffalo beat the Ducks 4-1 on Oct. 7 at home, getting two goals and an assist from Thomas Vanek and a goal and two assists from Jason Pominville. The Sabres' Ryan Miller has allowed three goals in winning the last two meetings between the teams.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Tyler Eifert says he will never play in the Pro Bowl again

Australian athletes evacuate the Olympic village after fire

Russian weightlifting team banned from Rio

Wade says Riley did not push him out of Miami

Nationals among multiple teams inquiring on Mark Melancon


McClain does not show up for Cowboys’ training camp

Andre Johnson agrees to two-year deal with Titans

Redskins GM injures hand punching wall in frustration

Report: Aldon Smith checks into rehab

McCarthy discusses 'urgency’ to win another title with Rodgers

Report: Lions extend CB Darius Slay with $50 million deal

Storyline from 'Ballers' plays out in Cowboys preseason camp

Texas A&M creates a very sexist version of their fight song for women

Brown, Marshall are apparently serious about their car bet

Lacy, Starks could split carries to start season

Cyborg Santos post-surgery skull photos are eerie

Dr. Phil calls out the Patriots for their cheating ways

Hockey team unveils Clinton, Trump bobbleheads

Bennett compares chemistry with Pats QBs to his love life

Crowell still making amends for controversial Instagram post

Report: LeBron urged Justin Bieber not to perform at RNC

Luck refutes Matt Hasselbeck’s assertion he never showers

Newspaper editor explains use of Jordan meme for MJ article

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Dr. Phil calls out the Patriots for their cheating ways

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker