Corey Perry bumps scoring slump in win over Sabres

AP
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BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) Corey Perry scored twice and added an assist, and the Anaheim Ducks snapped a three-game skid with a 5-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night.

Rickard Rakell scored to break a 1-1 tie 55 seconds into the third period, Antoine Vermette and Andrew Cogliano, with an empty-netter, also scored for the Ducks, who were 0-2-1 in opening a six-game road trip. John Gibson stopped 22 shots to earn his second win in his past six appearances. Anaheim also picked up its 68th point to move two ahead of third-place Edmonton in the Pacific Division standings.

Perry broke out of a major slump by ending a six-game goal drought and scoring for just the fourth time 26 games. It also marked his first multigoal game since scoring three times in a 4-2 win over Los Angeles last Feb. 28.

Jack Eichel and Rasmus Ristolainen scored for Buffalo, which lost in regulation at home for the first time since a 4-2 defeat to Boston on Dec. 29. The Sabres had gone 6-0-1 since, including a 5-4 overtime win over San Jose on Tuesday in which Buffalo overcame a three-goal deficit in the final 12 minutes of the third period.

The Sabres were out of rallies against an Anaheim opponent that broke the game open with three goals to build a 4-1 in the first 5:46 of the third period.

And Ducks coach Randy Carlyle’s decision to provide a boost to Perry by having Rakell center the line paid off immediately.

Perry set up Rakell’s go-ahead goal. Rakell skated from his own zone untouched and crossed Buffalo’s blue line. He fed a pass to Perry, who drove into the slot before sending the puck to Rakell in the lower left circle, where he roofed a shot inside the post before goalie Robin Lehner could get across.

Vermette made it 3-1 with a power-play goal just under five minutes later, when he was parked in front and deflected in Brandon Montour’s shot from the right point. And Perry capped the surge by converting a rebound after Lehner whiffed in stopping Rakell’s shot from the left circle.

Perry, who has topped 30 goals six times in 11 seasons, has 11 goals this season.

He opened the scoring with a great individual effort with 3 seconds left in the opening period. Stripping defenseman Jake McCabe of the puck along the right boards, Perry skated behind the net, came out the other side and wound his way untouched into the slot from where he beat Lehner through the legs.

Lehner made 39 saves.

The Sabres tied it on Eichel’s power-play goal 6:04 into the second period – and 2 seconds after Ducks defenseman Brandon Montour was penalized for tripping. Ryan O'Reilly won the faceoff in the right circle, and Kyle Okposo drew the puck back to Eichel, who snapped in a low shot inside the left post.

The shot beat Gibson, who had just returned to the ice after missing the start of the second period because of an equipment issue. Backup Jonathan Bernier stopped the two shots he faced in place of Gibson.