Game report: Ducks 1, Sabres 0

Key play: Sami Vatanen scored the only goal the Ducks needed to defeat the Buffalo Sabres 1-0 on Wednesday at the Honda Center for their sixth consecutive victory. Vatanen sent a wrist shot through traffic and into the net at 3:20 of the second period for his ninth goal of the season.

Pivotal performer: Ducks goaltender Frederik Andersen’s last shutout was Jan. 27, 2015, against the Vancouver Canucks. He hadn’t recorded one in 57 games before blanking the Sabres on 26 shots to improve his record to 10-0-1 with a 1.97 goals-against average in his last 11 decisions.

Quote, unquote: “When he’s on, he can make the save that nobody else can make,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said of Andersen, who had his fourth career shutout. “We’ve seen it time and time again. … He’s a big man who is very mobile in the net.”

Streaking captain: Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf’s second-period assist on Vatanen’s power-play goal gave him at least one point in nine consecutive games. He has four goals and 10 assists during the streak pushing his season totals to eight goals and a team-leading 48 points. He set a team record by recording his eighth career 40-assist season, passing Teemu Selanne, who had seven.

Lock-down time: The Ducks went into the game with a 20-0-3 record when leading after two periods. Their flawless mark in regulation play in 2015-16 was put to the test when they took a 1-0 lead into the third period against the Sabres. Make it 21-0-3, though, after they held on to beat Buffalo.

Game report: Kings 2, Flames 1

Key play: Anze Kopitar tapped a deflected shot-pass from teammate Drew Doughty into an open net for the go-ahead power-play goal late in the second period to propel the Kings to a 2-1 victory Tuesday over the Calgary Flames at Staples Center.

Pivotal performer: Calgary goaltender Joni Ortio made his first start for the Flames since Oct. 30 against the Montreal Canadiens. Ortio kept the Flames within striking distance by making 13 saves during a scoreless first period. He spent most of the season with the Stockton Heat of the AHL.

Quote, unquote: “We didn’t play our best game, but at this time of the year it doesn’t really matter as long as you get the two points,” Kopitar said. “We certainly realize there’s room for improvement. … We’ve got to continue building momentum at home and take care of business.”

Lineup changes: Left wing Michael Mersch was the odd-man out of the Kings’ lineup with the return of Kopitar to fitness after Kopitar sat out a 2-1 overtime loss Saturday to the Nashville Predators because of a lower-body injury.

Legends night: The Kings honored Mike Donnelly as part of their Legends Night series. Donnelly played with Tony Granato and Corey Millen on the “All-American Line” and was a member of the Kings team that advanced to the Stanley Cup Final in 1993.

Game report: Ducks 5, Flames 2

Key play: Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf scored 16 seconds into the third period to give the Ducks a two-goal lead en route to a 5-2 victory Sunday over the Calgary Flames at the Honda Center. Getzlaf extended his point streak to eight consecutive games (four goals, nine assists).

Pivotal performer: Ryan Kesler scored two goals, including a third-period strike that gave the Ducks a 4-1 lead. Kesler’s 12th and 13th goals of the season propelled the Ducks to their fifth consecutive victory, moving them within two points of the Pacific Division-leading Kings.

Quote, unquote: “He’s been a beast,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said of Kesler. “Just because he doesn’t score, some people don’t think he’s played as good as he has in the past, but I think he been phenomenal. I mean, he’s checking the other team’s top line all the time, whether we’re at home or on the road. He’s done a great job of it.”

Gone streaking: Ducks left wing Andrew Cogliano played in his 680th consecutive game, breaking a tie for sixth place with the Vancouver Canucks’ Henrik Sedin. Cogliano’s streak, which began with his NHL debut Oct. 4, 2007, is the longest active streak in the league.

Between the pipes: John Gibson started in goal for the Ducks for the second consecutive game, after defeating the Canucks in the finale of a seven-game trip Thursday in Vancouver. Gibson made 22 saves. Jonas Hiller, a former Ducks goalie, started for the Flames. Hiller had 28 saves.

With Anze Kopitar hurting, LA Kings recall forward Michael Mersch from the Ontario Reign of the AHL

The Kings recalled forward Michael Mersch from the Ontario Reign of the American Hockey League in advance of Saturday’s game against the Nashville Predators. The Kings were already without winger Marian Gaborik, who could be sidelined for the rest of the regular season because of a knee injury, but then center Anze Kopitar was forced from a 2-1 overtime loss Thursday to the St. Louis Blues because of a lower-body injury. Kopitar played only in the first period.

Kopitar’s status was termed day to day, but Saturday isn’t expected to be his day.

The 23-year-old Mersch had one goal and three points in 15 games with the Kings earlier this season..He also had 19 goals and 28 points in 34 games with the Reign before he was recalled. He led the team in goals and was 10th in the league. He also had a plus-6 defensive rating and 22 penalty minutes.

LA Kings center Anze Kopitar forced from OT loss to Blues with lower-body injury, status is day to day

UPDATE: Reports indicate Kings center Anze Kopitar’s status is day to day.

The Kings don’t like to talk about injuries. Ever. But it was difficult to ignore the fact that Kopitar didn’t play after the first period of what turned out to be a 2-1 overtime loss Thursday to the Blues in St. Louis. Kings coach Darryl Sutter told reporters in St. Louis who asked if there was a postgame update on the team’s leading scorer, “No. It doesn’t come, injuries, from the head coach.”

Kopitar was unavailable for immediate comment and it was unclear when he was hurt.

So, it wasn’t immediately certain whether Kopitar could play Saturday against the Predators in Nashville, the final stop on a seven-game trip, the Kings’ longest of the season. Kopitar played only nine shifts and a total of 5:12 in the first period before departing the game. A team spokesman told reporters that Kopitar suffered a lower-body injury and was “questionable” to return to the game.

Kopitar leads the Kings with 51 points (17 goals, 34 assists) in 57 games.

LA Kings assign goalie Peter Budaj to the Ontario Reign of the AHL

The Kings on Wednesday assigned goaltender Peter Budaj to the Ontario Reign of the American Hockey League. They recalled him on an emergency basis last Thursday in order to replace an injured Jonathan Quick. Quick is sound again after suffering an lower-body injury and missing three games. Budaj appeared in one game, a 5-4 overtime victory Friday over the New York Rangers. It was his first victory in the NHL since April 4, 2014 while with the Montreal Canadiens.

Ducks send goalie Anton Khudobin, defenseman Korbinian Holzer to San Diego of the AHL

The Ducks re-assigned goaltender Anton Khudobin to the San Diego Gulls of the American Hockey League on Wednesday, which means John Gibson is sound again after suffering an upper-body injury in Saturday’s victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Gibson didn’t dress for the past two games, a pair of Ducks victory over the Edmonton Oilers and the Calgary Flames.

The Ducks also sent defenseman Korbinian Hozler to the Gulls on a conditioning assignment. He has played only 18 games with the Ducks this season, recording one assist. He last played in a Jan. 23 victory over the Red Wings in Detroit.

Ducks recall goalie Anton Khudobin from San Diego of the AHL

The Ducks recalled goaltender Anton Khudobin from the San Diego Gulls of the American Hockey League on Sunday in case John Gibson is unavailable to play either Monday against the Calgary Flames or Tuesday against the Edmonton Oilers. Gibson suffered an upper-body injury and was forced from Saturday’s overtime victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Frederik Andersen took over for Gibson to start the third period and is expected to start against the Flames.

Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf playing well at the right time of the season

Ducks top-line center Ryan Getzlaf couldn’t hit water if he fell from the end of Huntington Beach Pier to start the season. Or so it seemed, anyway. Getzlaf, a former Hart Trophy finalist as the NHL’s MVP, underwent an appendectomy that sidelined him for four games, but declined to use it as an excuse for his poor play. He also owned up to a number of misplays that cost the Ducks games.

All that has changed, however.

Getzlaf’s game has been peerless since the Christmas break.

No surprise, but the Ducks have been sizzling since then, too.

Getzlaf has 22 points (five goals, 17 assists) in 21 games since the break.

The Ducks are 15-4-2 in the same stretch. They were last in the Pacific Division going into the break, but after a 3-2 overtime victory Saturday over the Chicago Blackhawks, they were third with a 27-19.8 record. They were one point behind the second-place San Jose Sharks and seven behind the division-leading Kings.

The Ducks’ seven-game trip continues Monday with a visit to Calgary.