Trevor Zegras made the decisive goal with a cross over the net. Anthony Stolarz was able to make 25 saves as the Anaheim Ducks won 2-0 against the Buffalo Sabres.
Zegras scooped the puck onto the blade of his stick behind the net and lobbed it over goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen’s head. Sonny Milano was waiting on the right edge of the crease and batted the feed past Luukkonen’s glove for his eighth goal 5:14 into the second period.
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“I still can’t believe it worked,” said Zegras, who celebrated the goal with both hands on his head. “It’s pretty funny. I’ve tried it a couple of times and haven’t even come close. It was amazing for him to get it up and under the crossbar.
Milano said that he was willing to pass the ball, but initially wanted Zegras not to lose the puck. He then suggested Zegras keep it and attempt a lacrosse style wraparound goal similar the one Mike Legg scored in 1996 for the University of Michigan.
Milano explained, “I was expecting him to take the Michigan,” Milano added. “He wasn’t, so I was just like, ‘Just do it.’ I was like, ‘Michigan, Michigan,’ and he ended up just throwing it to me and I batted it in.”
Dallas Eakins, Ducks coach marveled that Zegras believes he can “do anything with the puck”. He also stated that during his NHL career (1988-2004), “there wasn’t a chance for any of us to do that with a stick.”
Eakins stated, “These kids think outside of the box now.” “I think it’s great for the sport. Our business is entertainment. It was quite a special mission.”
Eakins was equally impressed by Milano’s finish. Milano has now scored in three consecutive games and is up to six points after a four-game run.
“That’s two games in a row now where Sonny Milano has knocked one out of the air,” Eakins said. “It’s hard enough to hit a round ball with a round bat. It’s impossible for anyone to lift a puck with such a stick, even two consecutive games.
Zegras is leading rookies in assists with 16. The Ducks drafted Zegras at number nine in 2019, and he has eight assists from four games in December, the most among the entire league.
Anaheim’s Sam Carrick scored also for the team, which has now won its five-game point streak (3-0-2), after reversing a Washington 4-3 shootout loss on Monday. The second night of their back-to-back set opened their Eastern road trip, which included five games.
Buffalo is currently 0-8-1 after losing five straight games.
The Sabres’ defense was an improvement after they allowed 20 goals in their previous three losses. Luukkonen made 21 saves in his Sabres season debut.
Don Granato, Sabres coach said that UPL looked great and felt comfortable. He seemed to appreciate the help we gave him. It was wonderful to see him feeling good and looking good. But, obviously, no help on the scoring side was the difference.
Carrick deflected in Josh Manson’s shot from the point for the Ducks’ second goal with 2:08 left in the third period.
Stolarz was able to save 15 shots in the last period, preserving his shutout after three attempts and his fourth win in a row.
“For Stolie to come in and pitch a shutout, especially on the road, I think that’s really tough,” Zegras said. “I’m proud of the way we rallied for this game.”
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Ducks: LW Adam Henrique (lower abdomen) failed his second consecutive match and C Ryan Getzlaf, all-time leading scorer (lower abdominal), missed his fourth.
Sabres – C Casey Mittelstadt went into the dressing area in the third quarter and didn’t come back. Granato did not provide any information after the game but stated that he doesn’t believe Mittelstadt had re-injured his upper-body injury which caused him to miss 20 more games this season. … Luukkonen was called up from the from the minors after recently acquired G Malcolm Subban sustained a lower-body injury during Saturday night’s loss at Carolina. Luukkonen was Buffalo’s fifth goalie. Subban skated Tuesday. D Robert Hagg, who suffered an undisclosed injuries in his second game, was unable to skate on Tuesday.
Ducks at Columbus, Thursday.
Sabres will host the New York Rangers Friday.