BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -- After snapping a long losing streak, the Buffalo Sabres
are determined to make up some ground.
Mika Noronen made 30 saves and the Sabres scored three times in the third
period for a 3-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night.
Ales Kotalik, Taylor Pyatt and Chris Taylor scored for Buffalo, which is
unbeaten in its last two games following a seven-game skid. The Sabres won for
the first time since Dec. 3 against Chicago.
"It's a big relief," said Noronen, who improved to 4-1 lifetime against
Carolina. "Hopefully, we can keep it going."
Sean Hill scored for Carolina, which is 2-2 under coach Peter Laviolette,
who took over after Paul Maurice was fired on Dec. 15.
The Hurricanes, the lowest-scoring team in the NHL, managed a season-low two
shots on goal in the first period.
"The first period was tough to stomach," Laviolette said. "I don't think
we can win many hockey games if we play like that. The first period was
unacceptable, by all measures."
For Buffalo, which tied Ottawa 2-2 on Tuesday, the Christmas break couldn't
have come at a better time. After enduring a 3-8-1 stretch, the Sabres gave one
of their best efforts of the season Friday following the rest.
"We had a couple days off to forget about hockey and get a fresh start,"
Noronen said. "We were able to get our minds off the game."
Carolina goaltender Kevin Weekes helped keep the game scoreless through two
periods thanks in part to a save in the second period on Daniel Briere, who
broke in alone from the Carolina blue line. After faking a move to the left,
Briere brought the puck to the right and tried to slide it under Weekes, who
made a pad save.
"(Buffalo) did a lot of gritty things," Weekes said. "You have to give
them credit. It's not an easy game to play when everybody doesn't want to
Kotalik scored on the power play at 3:09 of the third period, breaking an
0-for-17 drought for the Sabres with the man advantage.
Pyatt, who hadn't scored in 10 games, made it 2-0 with 7:46 left in the
third. Standing in front of the net, he slammed home a rebound of Miroslav
Satan's shot from the right point.
"That's where I have to play my game," the 6-foot-4 forward said. "That's
what I'm concentrating on."
The Hurricanes have scored one goal or less in 18 of their 34 games.
"The offense is a frustrating thing," Laviolette said. "We're still
dealing with things that are hurting us."
Noronen was the main problem Friday, making save after save over the final
two periods when the Hurricanes outshot Buffalo 29-25.
"It's easier if you face more shots, but we had a lot of blocked shots,
too," Noronen said. "In the second they got more shots and got me in the
game. That was key."
It wasn't all good news for the Sabres, who lost leading scorer J.P. Dumont
to a hip pointer with 12:15 left in the first period.
After a faceoff in the Carolina zone, Dumont was hooked in the midsection
and twisted around by Carolina defenseman Aaron Ward. Dumont, who has 11 goals
and 25 points, fell on his stomach and was unable to pick himself up without
help. He left the ice writhing in pain and could not put any pressure on his
Dumont is expected to miss more than a week, but should not have to undergo
"It actually happened the shift before," Dumont said. "I went for a
rebound and fell on my hip. I thought it was just a bruise. After the faceoff,
I tried to go around the guy and I felt it pull again. It was very painful."
Taylor added an empty-net goal for the Sabres with 33.2 seconds remaining
after Hill scored his first goal at 14:22 of the third for Carolina.
Weekes finished with 30 saves.