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game recap

Hurricanes sweep season series with Sabres

Jeff Skinner has three points, Cam Ward makes 36 saves for Carolina

by Kurt Dusterberg / NHL.com Correspondent

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Jeff Skinner had two goals and an assist, and Brock McGinn scored twice to help the Carolina Hurricanes defeat the Buffalo Sabres 5-2 at PNC Arena on Friday.

Cam Ward, playing his 600th NHL game, made 36 saves for the Hurricanes (20-15-7), who are 13-1-1 in their past 15 home games. Carolina won its third straight and swept the three-game season series with Buffalo.

"When we find a way to play at a high level, all four lines playing with pace, that's when we're at our best," Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said.

 

WATCH: All Sabres vs. Hurricanes highlights

 

William Carrier and Brian Gionta scored for the Sabres (16-17-9), who have lost two straight.

Buffalo capitalized on a Carolina turnover to take a 1-0 lead at 4:24 of the first period. Ryan O'Reilly intercepted Jaccob Slavin's pass and quickly got the puck to Carrier at the left post for a tap-in.

Skinner scored twice in a 55-second span in the second period to give the Hurricanes the lead. He made it 1-1 at 1:48 when he scored off Anders Nilsson's glove after taking a pass from Derek Ryan. The goal was Skinner's 300th NHL point.

"I thought I saved it but it went off my glove and ended it up in the net," Nilsson said. "After that, they came pretty hard and pretty fast, and they got some momentum from the first goal and scored a few more pretty fast after that. So that's too bad. That kind of changed the game a little bit."

Carolina took a 2-1 lead on Skinner's 17th of the season. Justin Faulk made a long diagonal pass from the defensive zone to Skinner at the offensive blue line. Skinner took a wrist shot that went inside the far post at 2:43.

"It definitely sparked us throughout the lineup," McGinn said. "It was a big moment and a turning point in the game."

McGinn scored his third of the season to put the Hurricanes up 3-1 at 6:51. Nilsson gave up a rebound on Elias Lindholm's shot, and McGinn went to his backhand for the goal.

"Seeing them score and getting affected by it, you can just see us start thinking again," O'Reilly said. "We start thinking and we start to get a little more individual and it breaks us down and it's frustrating."

Gionta scored shorthanded to cut the lead to 3-2 at 11:49. After a long aerial pass by Evander Kane from the Buffalo defensive zone, Ward sent the puck behind the net, but Gionta circled the net and tucked a shot in on his backhand.

Victor Rask scored his 13th goal to make it 4-2 at 4:15 of the third period. After Noah Hanifin missed wide from the slot, Rask got to the rebound low in the right circle.

McGinn drove the net for his second of the game to make it 5-2 at 7:58, taking a pass from Jordan Staal, who circled the net to set up the goal.

 

Goal of the game

Skinner had a shooter's touch on his second goal, but Faulk's long pass was the key.

Video: BUF@CAR: Skinner snipes his second tally of the game

"I took a peak before I got to the puck and saw that they were all coming toward the bench," Faulk said. "I knew Skinner was over there, so I turned and fired it, then he did the work. It's something we practice every now and then, those cross-ice passes."

 

Saves of the game

With 10:35 remaining in the third period, Ward stopped Kane on a shorthanded breakaway before turning away O'Reilly on another shorthanded attempt 30 seconds later.

Video: BUF@CAR: Ward makes big save on Kane's breakaway

 

Highlight of the game

O'Reilly created Buffalo's first goal with a nice defensive play then a pinpoint pass to the far post.

Video: BUF@CAR: Carrier slides the puck home on the doorstep

 

Unsung performance of the game

Lindholm set up McGinn's first goal by protecting the puck from Rasmus Ristolainen along the wall, shifting twice to maintain possession and getting off his shot.

Video: BUF@CAR: McGinn backhands rebound past Nilsson

 

They said it

"Especially in the second period, playing with the puck and managing the puck is such a huge factor. They used it to their advantage and showed their speed and showed their puck movement and caught us in situations where we're desperately trying to get off the ice, and we make poor changes and they're back the other way." -- Sabres coach Dan Bylsma

 

"[Skinner] took the game over in my opinion. He was just that dominant. He really has been one of our best players all season long. To see him get a couple goals and get a milestone on his part is impressive." -- Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward

 

Need to know

The Hurricanes won 16 of 17 faceoffs in the first period. ... Carolina has one power-play goal in the past 12 games. … Justin Falk was the only Buffalo skater without a shot on goal. … Sabres defenseman Zach Bogosian played his 500th NHL game.

 

What's next

Sabres: Host the Dallas Stars on Monday (1 p.m. ET; FS-SW, MSG-B, NHL.TV)

Hurricanes: Host the New York Islanders on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; MSG+, FS-CR, NHL.TV)

Video: Skinner, McGinn, Ward lead 'Canes past Sabres, 5-2

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