For the second straight game, Sabres fans streamed toward the exits midway through the third period. This time, they didn't miss much.
After rallying from a 4-1 deficit Tuesday against San Jose, Buffalo had the chance to do the same thing against Anaheim. The Ducks had little problem shutting the door and closing out a 5-2 victory Thursday night.
Unlike the Sharks, who suffered a 5-4 overtime loss, the Ducks stayed in control and outshot Buffalo, 44-26. It was the Sabres' first regulation loss in KeyBank Center in eight games, ending a 6-0-1 run.
Late mistake: The first period was 20 minutes long, but the Sabres played only 19:50. They let Corey Perry circle the zone with the puck for the final 10 seconds, and he made it 1-0 with 2.4 to go. Perry found plenty of space to skate from the boards to the slot, and he shot through a Ryan Getzlaf screen to beat Robin Lehner between the pads.
Feel the power: Buffalo needed just two seconds of power-play time to tie the game, 1-1. Ryan O’Reilly won the faceoff to Kyle Okposo, who pushed the puck to Jack Eichel for a one-timer. His shot beat goaltender John Gibson with 6:04 gone in the second period.
Eichel has seven goals and 16 points in his 16 home games.
Early connection: It took the Ducks only 55 seconds of the third period to regain their lead. Rickard Rakell and Perry worked a perfect give-and-go, with Perry setting up a wide-open Rakell at the side of the net.
There will be blood: O'Reilly high-sticked Getzlaf on a faceoff with 14:35 remaining, and the referees announced a two-minute penalty. Getzlaf, who had already gone into the hallway toward the dressing room, returned to the ice to show the officials he'd been cut. The refs changed it to four minutes.
O'Reilly didn't serve it all anyway. Anaheim scored 21 seconds into the first minor, taking a 3-1 lead as Antoine Vermette tipped Brandon Montour's point shot.
Another: The Ducks upped their lead to 4-1 with 9:49 to play. Lehner failed to steer Rakell's shot out of harm's way, and an uncontested Perry pounced for his second of the night.
Late goals: Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen skated through the Ducks' zone and put home a backhand with 1:38 to play, rewarding the remnants of the 18,027 fans.
The Ducks' Andrew Cogliano scored into an empty net with 55.9 seconds left.
Streak ends: Perry’s first goal ended Lehner’s stinginess at five-on-five. The goalie had made 105 straight saves during 187 minutes, 37 seconds of five-on-five time before Perry connected.
Bare-knuckle gentlemen: Anaheim’s Jared Boll and the Sabres’ Nicolas Deslauriers dropped the gloves midway through the second. As they circled, Boll pointed out a stick on the ice so Deslauriers wouldn’t trip on it.
In and out: Skate maintenance prevented Gibson from coming out for the start of the second period. Jonathan Bernier played the opening 5:41 before Gibson, the starter, returned to the crease.
Recalls: The Sabres summoned center Derek Grant and right wing Evan Rodrigues from Rochester. Grant was the only one who played, taking the place of injured Zemgus Girgensons. The center is day-to-day with a midbody injury.
Rodrigues came to Buffalo in case nicked-up Evander Kane was unable to go.
Radio signal: Eichel and Sabres General Manager Tim Murray responded to criticism from fans and radio hosts, who said Eichel was out of line with Tuesday’s comments regarding booing.
“If I remember correctly, I said they booed us for two periods, then we come back and win a game and they love us again – which is exactly what happened,” Eichel said. “There’s no way somebody can argue that happening because that’s completely factual.
“I never said that there was something wrong with them booing us.”
Murray said during his weekly show on WGR-AM 550 that he had no problem with Eichel speaking his mind.
“He's got a voice,” Murray said. “I hope someday he has a huge voice here. If one time out of 10 it” angers people, “I can live with it and I'm certainly not going to put a stop to it."
Next: The Sabres will play their second set of back-to-back games this week. They will visit Auston Matthews and the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday, then come home to host Ryan Miller and the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday.