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Recap: Skinner, Canes Win in Shootout

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / CarolinaHurricanes.com

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Jeff Skinner scored the game-deciding goal in the shootout to lift the Carolina Hurricanes over the Buffalo Sabres, 3-2, in an exhibition match at Essar Centre in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

Eddie Lack turned away all three shots he saw in the shootout and Skinner, the final shooter for the Hurricanes, snapped the puck past Linus Ullmark to lift the Canes to victory.

"Eddie did a great job stopping all three," Skinner said. "The puck kind of bounced off my stick there, and I think sometimes goalies expect you to panic there and shoot it, so I just tried to hang onto it one more second and honestly just put it on net. I didn't get too much on it, but sometimes you just get enough and it works out."

→ 24 hours later, the Hurricanes put together a much better start against the Sabres, due in part to the fact that the team iced a much more experienced lineup, especially up front. As head coach Bill Peters mused after the morning skate, zone time and puck possession leaned more in the Canes' favor.

"I thought we were really good early," Skinner said. "I thought we had some real good chances in their end, and we spent a lot of time down in their end."

"Near the end we faded a little bit, but early in the game I thought we were the better team and had a lot of territorial time," Peters said. "We had the puck, and we were hungry. We were able to shoot it and get it back."

Roland McKeown got the Canes on the board first, a quick release from the far circle with assists to Lee Stempniak and Jeff Skinner. After 20 minutes of play, the Canes held a 15-6 shot advantage and led 1-0 where it counted.

"We're excited about him and his potential, no different from some of those other young D," Peters said of McKeown and the Canes' stable of young, talented prospects. "All of our young guys are very young. Now they're out there playing against the Evander Kane's and Brian Gionta's of the world. It's a little bit intimidating at times for the them, but it's stuff they have to get out of the way and continue to develop. We're very pleased with the track they're on."

→ The Hurricanes lead power play unit, something we'll likely see much more of in the regular season, featured Justin Faulk at the point, Aho-Lindholm-Teravainen and Bryan Bickell parked in front of the net. That five-some connected for a power-play tally in the second period, when Aho went cross ice to Teravainen, who dangled and dished to Lindholm for the one-time goal. That goal gave the Hurricanes a brief 2-0 lead.

→ There is some real chemistry between Finns Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen, a dynamic that is going to be very intriguing to watch develop as the season rolls along. Swede Elias Lindholm doesn't look out of place between the two, either. That's three creative offensive minds, and there is some real potential there.

"They seem like they're getting some chemistry developed," Peters said. "They were very good on the power play. That's something we'll keep together for the foreseeable future and see if it can grow."

"They're three real smart players, and when they get working down low, you can see it's tough for D-men to contain them because they're so shifty and so smart," Skinner said. "It's pretty exciting to see them, individually and a line, grow throughout the next few days in camp and in the season. It's nice to have that threat, and I'm looking forward to watching them."

→ In a 2-0 hole, the Sabres fought back. They halved the Canes' lead before the second intermission, as Evander Kane broken in all alone and beat Eddie Lack. Then in the third period, it was Justin Bailey scoring on a shorthanded odd-man rush to tie the game at two.

→ Just one game remains in the Hurricanes' exhibition season: they'll host the Washington Capitals on Friday night at PNC Arena. Then the games count, beginning Oct. 13 in Winnipeg.

"We've got a great schedule between now and the game in Winnipeg to start the season," Peters said. "We'll get home and get some quality practice time prior to hitting the road. I think the guys are excited about playing in front of our fans against Washington on Friday and then starting the regular season."

"It's coming together well," Skinner said. "It's an exciting time for this organization, and hopefully we can get off to a good start."

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