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Recap: Hurricanes Bounce Back to Beat Sabres

Canes' top line combines for seven points in 4-3 win

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / CarolinaHurricanes.com

Led by seven points from the top line trio of Micheal Ferland, Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen, the Carolina Hurricanes got back in the win column with a 4-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres.

Ferland led the way offensively with a career-high three points (1g, 2a), and All-Star Aho scored two goals in the Canes' sixth win in their last seven games.

Here are five takeaways from tonight's game.

One

The Hurricanes took a gut punch in a 3-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning just a night ago. Having played a stellar game, the Canes saw a 1-0 lead slip away from them late in the third period, as the NHL's top team took advantage of some generous opportunities given to them.

What would the response from the Canes look like, then? How do you park that emotional defeat and come back focused and ready for another game against a team that was in town waiting?

The Canes might not have played as well as they did the night prior, but they found a way to walk away with two points.

"You always lean on experiences you have. Good or bad, they're going to make you better one way or the other," Justin Williams said. "Do I wish we would have won last night? Yeah. But a really good bounce back effort and a big win."

"I feel like we played yesterday a better game than today, but that's how it goes," Aho said. "This was a big win for us. I'm glad we found a way."

"We played hard. Execution wasn't very good. Our goalie came up with some nice saves when we needed it. We got a couple breaks. That was nice to see," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "We were a little deflated after last night, so it was nice to see the guys come out and play at least hard."

Two

Though the Canes might not have been at their best, the bounces worked in their favor tonight, as three of the four goals they scored bounced in off the Sabres. The Canes will certainly take that.

Ferland opened the scoring just past the midway point of the first period with some serious pinball action. His shot - pretty routine all things considered - bounced off Carter Hutton's glove, off the top of the net and then off defenseman Marco Scandella's stick and into the net.

Video: BUF@CAR: Ferland nets unconventional goal

"We weren't very good, especially in the first period," Brind'Amour said. "We were very, very fortunate. We got a really lucky bounce."

Aho was on the receiving end of more lucky bounces in the second period.

Aho fired a backhand centering feed to the front of the net, where Teravainen was jockeying for position with 2018 first-overall pick Rasmus Dahlin. The puck caromed in off Dahlin's skate, putting the Canes back on top, 3-2.

Video: BUF@CAR: Aho banks puck off skate for goal

Later in the period, Aho attempted a wrap-around that ricocheted through Hutton's five-hole off defenseman Jake McCabe.

"[The bounces] went our way, for sure," Brind'Amour said.

Video: BUF@CAR: Aho banks wraparound off defender

Three

Williams is a 37-year-old veteran, but he's still a gamer. Just ask Tage Thompson and Hutton.

Williams shook Thompson with a quick forehand-backhand drag and had open ice in front of him. He then roofed a quick snapshot bar down glove side on Hutton to give the Canes a 2-1 lead 4:30 into the second period.

Video: BUF@CAR: Williams makes slick move, roofs shot

"That was a great play. Bar down right there. That's a pretty nice goal," Aho said. "He's leading in so many ways."

Williams now has points in six straight games (5g, 1a) and a goal in four straight games (4g).

Four

The second period was one of the most action-packed periods the Hurricanes have played all season. The two teams combined for three goals in 72 seconds. Aho scored a pair of goals. Justin Faulk threw hands with Johan Larsson (and only received an extra roughing minor) after the two collided knee-on-knee.

The crowd of 17,199 at PNC Arena was buzzing all night, as the Canes improved to 6-0-2 in their black jerseys.

And the Storm Surge? It was a strike, bowled perfectly by the captain.

Video: Hurricanes Surge over Buffalo

Five

Jeff Skinner made his return to PNC Arena tonight after the Canes dealt him to the Buffalo Sabres in early August. The Canes welcomed Skinner back with a video tribute during the first period, and the 26-year-old winger smiled as he glanced up and down from the video board. He waved and clapped in appreciation following the video.

Video: Welcome Back, Jeff Skinner!

And then he scored his 30th goal of the season, and power-play tally that he banged out of mid-air, to even the score at one.

"Well, I wasn't happy about it, that's for sure," Brind'Amour said when asked about it.

The Hurricanes matched up their top line against Skinner and the Sabres' top line, a strategy that paid off.

"He was asked for a big task tonight, and he's more than capable of doing it," Williams said. "We're well aware of it."

"We decided based on a little pre-scout thing to try to get our best players against their best line to kind of go chance-for-chance and see how it worked out," Brind'Amour said. "I think he (Aho) could play defense if he had to. He's a smart hockey player."

Up Next

The Hurricanes host the Nashville Predators in a 12:30 p.m. Sunday matinee on Military Appreciation Day.

"This is a really tough stretch. A lot of good teams," Williams said. "We need to make sure we're ready to go."

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