After a sloppy start, the Anaheim Ducks turned to their captain.
Ryan Getzlaf scored the first of five straight Anaheim goals and then added two assists to lead the Ducks to a 6-3 comeback win over the reeling Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night.
"We got a little mad," said Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau, whose team fell behind on Cody Hodgson's second-period goal. "We didn't play very good in the first period, and then they scored the first goal.
"It was really important for us to lift our spirits by getting (Getzlaf), being the leader he is, coming right back and scoring the goal."
Emerson Etem and Corey Perry both scored two goals for the Ducks (11-3-1), who also got a goal from defenseman Sami Vatanen.
"We didn't accept what we were doing in the first half of the game," Perry said. "When we got behind, that's when everybody realized what was going on, and we had to play better."
The Sabres (2-13-1) continued their worst start in franchise history despite goals from Hodgson, Tyler Myers and Henrik Tallinder. Buffalo has lost its first nine home games, their longest stretch to open a season.
"We're facing a lot of adversity right now," Hodgson said. "We can say as much as we want, but at the end of the day it's what we do on the ice. Right now it's not good enough."
With the game tied 1-1 late in the second period, Anaheim scored two goals in 34 seconds.
Vatanen took advantage of Matt Moulson's slow back check and fired a shot past goalie Jhonas Enroth from just inside the blue line. Moments later, Etem lifted a rebound opportunity past Enroth for his first of the night.
Thirteen players recorded points for Anaheim, which won its first game in Buffalo since 2009.
"They got some high-end powered offense, and when you can't contain them they can run up a lot of goals," Hodgson said. "It seemed like we were with them, and all of the sudden they just took off."
Buffalo barely tested Anaheim goalie Jonas Hiller, and the Sabres were outshot for the sixth straight game, 29-17.
The Sabres opened the scoring 7:15 in with a power-play goal. Moulson fed Hodgson from behind the net for a low one-timed shot that beat Hiller to his right. Moulson and Hodgson had two points.
Anaheim tied it less than three minutes later when Getzlaf took a pass from Dustin Penner and lifted a shot over Enroth.
"Their record is not great, and we knew we had to get after them," Getzlaf said. "When we came out of that first period, we knew that was unacceptable for our group and we needed to push forward."
Perry's goals came in the third period, both wrist shots over Enroth's left shoulder.
It wasn't all good for the Ducks, whose power-play struggles continued. Anaheim has just one goal in its last 26 power plays after an 0-for-3 performance that included an abbreviated 5-on-3 advantage late in the first period.
"If ever we can get this power play going, we'll be an elite team in this league," Getzlaf said. "So we've just got to keep working, keep doing the right things."
The three-goal loss was the Sabres' fifth of the season, four of which have come at home.
Vatanen sustained an upper-body injury in the third period and didn't return. Boudreau said the defenseman was under further observation.
Mathieu Perreault had two assists for Anaheim.
The Sabres will go on the road for a three-game, West Coast trip that starts Tuesday in San Jose and concludes Friday against the Ducks.
NOTES: The Sabres placed RW Patrick Kaleta on waivers on Saturday after he finished his 10-game suspension for a high hit on Columbus D Jack Johnson. ... The Ducks will finish their eight-game road trip on Monday against the New York Rangers. ... John Scott was among the Sabres scratches as he served the fifth game of a seven-game suspension for a late hit on Bruins LW Loui Eriksson.