BUFFALO, NY (AP) - Thanks to goalie Cam Ward and Jeff Skinner's power-play goal, the Carolina Hurricanes overcame their struggles on special teams.
Skinner scored with 1:24 left and Ward made 39 saves in a 4-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Friday night.
And if that wasn't enough, the Hurricanes got a short-handed goal each from Brandon Sutter and Tim Brent to win their second straight game after an 0-2-1 start.
"It was a big win for us, a character win is the best way to describe it," Skinner said. "You look at the PK (penalty kill), and the job they did tonight."
The penalty-killers certainly did their part in blanking the Sabres on all six opportunities. But it was Skinner who sealed the victory, his goal coming 57 seconds after Buffalo's Drew Stafford tied the game at 3.
With Thomas Vanek off for tripping, Hurricanes forward Jussi Jokinen fed a pass through the middle into the right circle, where Skinner one-timed it.
Goalie Ryan Miller got a piece of the shot with his left pad, but the puck had enough momentum to trickle in the net. ...MORE.
Carolina’s Bryan Allen goes off for interference at 18:59 of the first period when he catches Jason Pominville
with a questionable hit at center ice. Early in the Buffalo power play, Marc-Andre Gragnani steps over the Carolina blueline and wraps the puck around the boards. When the puck jumps over Thomas Vanek
’s stick at the blueline, Brandon Sutter picks it up and outhustles both Vanek and Christian Ehrhoff
before firing a wrist shot past Ryan Miller
. The shorthanded goal gives the Canes a 3-2 lead with just 12 seconds left in the first period, and the Sabres never seem to recover. “To give up that goal late in the period, that was a tough one for us,” said Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff.
Cam Ward: The Carolina netminder stopped 39 of 42 Sabres shots, including 18 in the second period. He improves to 2-2 on the season, and is now 7-6-2 all-time against Buffalo.
- Sabres suffer their first regular season home loss in regulation since Mar. 15/11 vs. CAR (1-0).
- Thomas Vanek
ran his point streak to three games, and leads Buffalo with 6 pts (3+3). Vanek has now scored in six straight regular season games dating back to Apr. 3/11; and has 27 points (12+15) in his last 20 games.
- Vanek recorded a game-high eight shots, and leads Buffalo with 18 through three games.
- With two points (1+1) tonight, Drew Stafford
needs one more to reach 200 for his career.
- Buffalo allowed two shorthanded goals in a game for the first time since Nov. 3/10 vs. BOS
- Christian Ehrhoff
logged a game-high 26:18 of ice time.
- Derek Roy
led both team with 16 face-off wins.
- Roy extended his point streak vs Carolina to six games; he leads all Sabres with 29 (13+16) in 24 career vs. CAR.
- Roy’s first period goal was his first since Dec. 17/10
I thought the hit was late ... I guess guys don't have to be held accountable for their hits anymore. - Paul Gaustad, on the Allen hit on Pominville in the first period
- Both Paul Gaustad and Lindy Ruff questioned Allen’s hit on Pominville in the first period. “I thought the hit was late, hopefully they review it,” said Gaustad. “I guess guys don’t have to be held accountable for their hits anymore.” Cody McCormick
challenged Allen early in the second period and was assessed an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. That didn’t sit well with Ruff afterwards. “That was the best penalty of the night,” said Ruff of the call on McCormick. “I just thought Allen should’ve answered the bell.”
- The Sabres are now 1-1-0 in first game of back-to-back sets.
- Tim Gleason was plus-2 on the night, increasing his league-leading total to +7.
- Carolina had 16 blocked shots, including seven in the third period.
- Brad Boyes
’ ironman streak is now at 495 games
- Paul Maurice coached his 900th career game with the Hurricanes tonight, making him the seventh coach in NHL history to reach this milestone with one team. He trails only Lindy Ruff (1,069) and Nashville’s Barry Trotz (986) among active coaches in games coaches with their current team. Maurice entered the 2011-12 season having coached 1,059 NHL games – 895 with the Carolina franchise and 164 with Toronto.
- The Sabres are now 94-62-24 all-time against Carolina; 53-29-8 at home.
Buffalo visits the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh on Saturday night for a 7 p.m. tilt with the Penguins. After a brief stop back home, they head out for a three-game road swing to Montreal (Tues., 7:30 p.m.), Florida (Thurs., 7:30 p.m.) and Tampa Bay (Sat., 7 p.m.). The Sabres don’t play at home again until Tuesday, October 25 vs. Tampa Bay.