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GAME NOTES: Carolina Hurricanes vs. Buffalo Sabres (Game 7)

by Staff Writer / Carolina Hurricanes


Carolina Hurricanes vs. Buffalo Sabres

Game 7, Eastern Conference Finals Series “M”
Thursday, June 1, 7:30 p.m. (ET)
RBC Center, Raleigh, NC

TICKETS | Listen LIVE! (7:30 p.m.)

Tonight's Game

The Carolina Hurricanes and the Buffalo Sabres play Game 7 of their best-of-seven Eastern Conference Finals series on Thursday at the RBC Center (7:30 p.m., OLN, Hurricanes Radio Network). Buffalo took Game 1 of the series by a 3-2 score on May 20 at the RBC Center before the Hurricanes struck back with a 4-3 victory on May 22. Buffalo scored a 4-3 home win on May 24 before the Hurricanes posted a 4-0 win on May 26 to tie the series 2-2. In Sunday’s Game 5, Cory Stillman notched the overtime game winner to break a 3-3 deadlock and give Carolina a 3-2 series lead. Sabres co-captain Daniel Briere returned the favor with an overtime power-play goal in Game 6 to give Buffalo a 2-1 win and force Thursday’s series-deciding Game 7. The Hurricanes advanced to the Conference Finals by virtue of a 4-1 series win against the New Jersey Devils in the semifinal round. Buffalo defeated Ottawa in five games to advance to the third round.

Television: OLN
Radio: Hurricanes Radio Network – WWMY 102.9 FM (Raleigh – flagship), WYSR 1590 AM (High Point), WMFD 630 AM (Wilmington)
Internet: www.carolinahurricanes.com

Hurricanes Current Streaks

  • Center Matt Cullen has points and goals in two straight games (5/28-5/30: 0g, 3a)

Injury Report

  • Left wing Erik Cole, no timetable, fractured vertebra, missed last 21 games of the regular season and 17 playoff games

Hurricanes Practice Schedule

June 1 RBC Center 10:30 a.m.

*All times are local… Times and locations subject to change

Carolina Notes

Thursday’s game marks the fourth time in Carolina franchise history that the team has gone to a Game 7 in a playoff series, and the first time in franchise history that the team has hosted a Game 7. The Hurricanes franchise is 0-3 in Game 7s having lost in overtime in the Adams Division Finals 2-1 at Montreal on April 29, 1986, in the Adams Division Semifinals 3-1 at Boston on April 17, 1990 and in the Adams Division Semifinals in double overtime 3-2 at Montreal on May 1, 1992. The Sabres are 1-4 all time in Game 7s.

Since the NHL introduced the best-of-seven format in 1939, 117 series have gone to a Game 7, with the home team winning 73 of those contests (62%) and the road team emerging victorious 44 times (38%). Of the 117 Game 7s since 1939, 29 have been decided in overtime with the home team posting a 15-14 record in those games.

In each of their respective NHL coaching careers, Hurricanes coach Peter Laviolette and Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff have each gone 0-1 in Game 7s.

In their current best-of-seven Eastern Conference Finals series against Buffalo, the Hurricanes established a win/site order of LWLWW @ HHVVH (L=loss, W=win, H=home, V=visitor/road). From 1905 through the quarterfinal rounds of this year’s NHL and NBA playoffs, teams establishing such a win/site order in best-of-seven series have a 21-1 (.955) series record. The only team to lose a series after establishing such a win/site order was the 1996 Pittsburgh Penguins who lost their semifinal series to Florida.

Against the Sabres

The Hurricanes and the Sabres met four times during the 2005-06 regular season, with Carolina posting a 3-1-0 record in the four-game set. Buffalo’s lone win came in the final game of the season, a 4-0 shutout at the RBC Center on April 18. Carolina took the teams’ first meeting on Nov. 9 at HSBC Arena by a 5-3 margin, and scored a 4-3 shootout win in Raleigh on Feb. 12, the final game before the Olympic break. Carolina also scored a 4-3 win on March 22 at Buffalo. Cory Stillman (1g, 4a) led all Hurricanes in scoring against Buffalo in the regular season posting five points. J-P Dumont, Thomas Vanek and Maxim Afinogenov each posted four points to lead the Sabres in scoring. Martin Gerber played all four games against the Sabres, posting a 3-1-0 record, a 3.19 goals-against average and an .896 save percentage in the four games. Ryan Miller played two games for Buffalo against Carolina, going 0-1-0 with a 3.38 goals-against average and an .879 save percentage. Martin Biron posted a 1-1-1 record against Carolina in 2005-06, with a 2.01 goals-against average and a .926 save percentage. For a detailed breakdown of the 2005-06 series between the teams, please go to page 96 in the 2006 Carolina Hurricanes Playoff Guide.

This marks the first ever playoff series between the Carolina franchise and Buffalo.

May 30, 2006
Buffalo 2, Hurricanes 1 (OT)

The Buffalo Sabres forced a deciding Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals when Daniel Briere scored 4:22 into overtime to give the Sabres a 2-1 win in Game 6 at HSBC Arena. The goal came during Buffalo’s fifth power-play of the night. Carolina tied the game 1-1 when Bret Hedican scored his second goal of the postseason with 3:57 remaining in regulation. Cam Ward made 29 saves in the game, including 13 in the first period, but suffered the loss. Ryan Miller allowed just one goal on 26 shots to earn the win for the Sabres. J-P Dumont gave Buffalo a 1-0 lead just 4:56 into the game. The loss ended center Eric Staal’s franchise-best 15-game postseason points streak.

May 26, 2006
Hurricanes 4, Buffalo 0

Martin Gerber made his first start since April 24 and made 22 saves on 22 Sabres shots earn first-star honors, record his first NHL postseason shutout and help the Hurricanes tie their best-of-seven Eastern Conference Finals series 2-2. Mark Recchi opened the scoring when he tipped Frantisek Kaberle’s shot past Buffalo netminder Ryan Miller 6:54 into the first period. Eric Staal was named second star of the game as the 21-year old center continued his points streak with a wrist shot that found the inside of the far post during a power play three minutes after Recchi’s goal. Just 2:10 into the second period, rookie winger Andrew Ladd chipped in the rebound of a Doug Weight shot for Ladd’s first NHL postseason goal and a 3-0 Carolina lead. Defenseman Bret Hedican put the icing on the cake with less than four minutes remaining when he notched his first goal of the 2006 playoffs. Carolina defenseman Aaron Ward earned an assist on Recchi’s goal, logged 24 minutes of ice time and recorded three hits to be named third star.

May 24, 2006
Buffalo 4, Hurricanes 3

After Carolina took a 1-0 lead on Cory Stillman’s fifth goal of the postseason, the Sabres scored four straight goals to take a 4-1 lead 12:55 into the second period. Stillman struck again with 1:42 remaining in the second period to make the score 4-2 going into the second intermission, but the Sabres held off the Hurricanes’ third-period attack until Eric Staal notched his sixth goal of the playoffs on the power play to make the score 4-3. Carolina coach Peter Laviolette replaced goaltender Cam Ward after Ales Kotalik gave Buffalo a 4-1 lead with 7:05 remaining in the second frame. Martin Gerber stopped all seven Sabres shots he faced in the game’s final 27 minutes.

May 22, 2006
Hurricanes 4, Buffalo 3

Carolina winger Ray Whitney became the 17th player in franchise history to score two goals in a playoff game (he was also the 16th when he did so on May 6 against New Jersey) when he found the net twice in the second period. Whitney’s first marker gave Carolina a 2-1 lead and came when he redirected Eric Staal’s shot past Buffalo netminder Ryan Miller. The assist extended Staal’s franchise-best postseason points streak to 12 games, the longest such streak since Pavel Bure’s in 1994. Whitney gave Carolina a two-goal lead when he blasted a Matt Cullen centering pass past Miller nearly seven minutes after his first goal. Justin Williams gave the Hurricanes the insurance goal it would need when his shot from the blue line caromed off of Miller’s glove and into the net. Chris Drury took advantage of a 5-on-3 power play to bring Buffalo to within two goals, and Derek Roy scored with less than three seconds remaining to make the score 4-3. Cam Ward stopped 16 of 19 shots he faced to earn the win for the Hurricanes. Defenseman Glen Wesley earned the game’s second star for his stellar defensive effort that included five blocked shots and a third-period play that saved a goal.

May 20, 2006
Buffalo 3, Hurricanes 2

Henrik Tallinder notched his second goal of the playoffs 2:56 into the game before Rod Brind’Amour evened the scored 1-1 less than 10 minutes later as the Hurricanes and the Sabres got acquainted in the first game of their best-of-seven Eastern Conference Finals series. The game remained tied 1-1 until Daniel Briere sneaked a backhander into the Carolina net 9:41 into the second frame. The Sabres carried a 2-1 lead into the third period until Jay McKee scored eight seconds after being released from the penalty box to give Buffalo a two goal lead. Mike Commodore scored his first NHL playoff goal with 2:53 remaining in the third period during a Sabres power play to make the score 3-2 and giving Carolina its first shorthanded goal of the postseason. Eric Staal earned the second assist on Commodore’s goal to extend his points streak to 11 games. Cam Ward took his second loss in nine playoff starts, stopping 24 of 27 Buffalo shots. Ryan Miller earned the win for the Sabres, stopping 29 of 31 shots he faced.

PLAYOFF STATISTICS

Carolina
GP
G
A
PTS
12 Staal
17
7
13
20
61 Stillman
17
7
10
17
17 Brind'Amour
17
8
5
13

Goaltenders
GP
GAA
W-L
SV %
29 Gerber
6
3.53
1-1
.856
30 Ward
15
2.08
10-5
.919


Sabres
GP
G
A
PTS
48 Briere
17
8
11
19
23 Drury
17
9
8
17
17 Dumont
17
5
10
15

Goaltenders
GP
GAA
W-L
SV %
30 Miller
17
2.48
11-6
.911
43 Biron
0
0.00
0-0
0
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