You almost have to feel sorry for the bottom dwelling Buffalo Sabres. Their record at 3-15-1 is almost the polar opposite of the Ducks at 14-3-1.
When the two teams met for the second time in a week on Friday night, those differences were crystal clear in the 6-2 drubbing by Anaheim.
Goaltender Ryan Miller, who was replaced (relieved?) in the third period by Jhonas Enroth, looked thoroughly disgusted after being hung out to dry for the first twenty minutes by his teammates.
"It was a disaster to be a part of," said Miller.
Grammatically awkward sentence aside, Miller was right. It was not a disaster from the Ducks perspective.
The Ducks power play, which had been aptly described as a disaster for the majority of the season, has finally woken up. No longer at the bottom of the stats with single digit success, the Ducks now are at #26 in the league with a 12.1% rate. Right below the Sabres.
Ryan Getzlaf, who scored his first ever hat trick, got his first on the power play at 2:11. Cam Fowler added his second goal in as many games, also with the man advantage, at 9:53.
Mikhail Grigorenko got his first of two goals at 13:26 to put the Sabres, who had played the night before against the Los Angeles Kings, within one goal. Looks on paper can be very deceiving and with the way the Ducks were playing, you knew Buffalo was merely lucky to not be shut out.
Getzlaf finished off his first hat trick with goals at 16:29 and 19:40. The last time a hat trick was scored by the Ducks in the first period it was Teemu Selanne in 1997.
It only took eight years and 574 games for Getzlaf to reach the accomplishment.
"Teemu said he had 10 hat tricks by this many games," Getzlaf commented.
Seeing as Selanne, who played in game #1400 on Friday, has an impressive 22 career hatties, he probably is right.
Dustin Penner assisted on three of the first period goals then added one of his own at 4:53 of the second period. His +18 rating is the best of all NHL players. Corey Perry rounded out the top line with two assists, but no goals, to keep his point streak going at four games.
"They're willing to hold onto pucks and put them in the areas where they can get it back and protect it," said Miller of the Perry-Penner-Getzlaf line. "It's not always toe drags and fancy passes. They're just willing to look for options and they spread the ice well. They go to the areas where they can make plays."
Coach Bruce Boudreau also had high praise for his top line.
"They were really dominant tonight," said Boudreau. "There was no doubt. You could tell, as soon as he started his skating, that Ryan was great. When we got the power-play goal early, it was because he did something he doesn’t normally do, which is jump right into the play after a shot. As soon as he did that, I said ‘Ok, he’s going to have a good game.’ Consequently, he got four points in the first period."
Grigorenko was the only Sabre capable of putting pucks past Frederik Andersen, who got his fifth win in as many starts. Grigorenko's second at 13:09 just wasn't enough to give Buffalo life.
Andrew Cogliano restored the four goal lead at 18:53 of the middle frame and that was it for Buffalo. He was assisted by Rickard Rakell, who earned his first NHL point on the goal.
Devante Smith-Pelly did his best to add to the Ducks tally with at least five grade A scoring chances, but he was turned away at every opportunity.
The Ducks want to continue their winning streak (the longest in the NHL currently at 7-0-1) on Sunday afternoon against Vancouver. After that game, they head out for another trek to the East Coast, this time only four games on the road instead of eight.