Perry goes off for three more as Ducks’ strong start continues
The Anaheim Ducks continue to play like they’re a part of a video game.
Wednesday’s 4-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres at the Honda Center was only the latest in a somewhat dominant six-game winning streak. The Ducks have outscored their opponents 24-8 since the season started and, with the help of three from Corey Perry on Wednesday, they now have a league-leading 24 goals, two more than Philadelphia and rival San Jose.
Perry blew the game open late in the third when he scored two to complete his second hat trick of the season. His second, an errant clearing attempt gone wrong that he rocketed all the way back from the point, was easily the highlight of the night.
"When you’re a natural goal-scorer like the is, the puck follows you," Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau said. "Corey is one of the best scorers in the game. When you have that touch, the puck follows you."
But sometimes a win can cover up the blemishes.
Boudreau isn’t completely sold on the way the Ducks won. Tyler Ennis scored late and the Sabres weren’t completely out of it until Perry’s one-timer with less than three minutes to play. Buffalo continued to find ways to make plays until his empty-net goal effectively finished the game.
"We dominated the game maybe and I thought we had all of the these looks but I thought we were trying to be too cute," Boudreau said. "Instead of trying to make the perfect play, getting it and shooting it and doing the simple things that have made us a really hard working team. I think we missed doing that today."
It was Frederik Andersen (23 saves) that was the real star, according to Boudreau.
"He was the one that kept us in," Boudreau said. "If Buffalo hadn’t gone so long without scoring and squeezing the stick, they probably would have scored a few more goals. They deserved a better fate."
Boudreau didn’t think the defensive-zone play was where it should have been. The team went through stretches when they looked disengaged, but they quickly followed with furious rallies.
Andersen’s scoreless streak ended at 152 minutes and change.
"We had so many giveaways tonight," Boudreau said. "If we want to be one of the better teams, we’ve got to be better in our own zone and that’s No. 1. We’re going to score some goals, we’ve got some big goal scorers, but we’ve got to be able to play better defense.
"With the giveaways we had tonight, if this was the Chicago Blackhawks the score would have been a lot different for us."
Anaheim, the authors of the best start in the Western Conference, are far from satisfied yet.
"Sometimes we haven’t played our best hockey," Perry said. "That’s a good sign because we’re finding our best hockey."