Buffalo played a decent first period, which saw Thomas Vanek
hit two posts and Derek Roy
ring a shot off the crossbar, but became completely out of sync in the second. With a couple of turnovers and a broken stick, the Sabres fell behind 4-0 entering the second intermission.
"We went into the third saying that if we can get one in the first five minutes, we could get back in the game," said Ruff. "As a team, we have won a lot of games together and we knew we could still get back into this one." Jason Pominville
scored less than three minutes in, Vanek made a great one-on-one move for Buffalo's second goal midway through the period, and Jiri Novotny brought the team within one with seven minutes to play. It just wasn't enough as Ryan Miller
took the loss making 21 saves.
"Coming out and being positive in the third period was important for us," said Miller. "It has been a good year with some ups and downs, and we're just going through a down cycle right now."
The Sabres current three-game skid is its longest since the first week of November.
"We've been saying for two games now, take the third into the next game," said Ruff. "Our opponent who is coming in here next has been very tough on us. We're going to rebound. Is it going to be Friday? I hope, but that's a monumental task against a team that been going really well."
Buffalo will face the Ottawa Senators for the sixth time this season on Friday night. Ottawa has taken nine of a possible 10 points from the Sabres and currently leads the Northeast Division.
"Adversity is exactly what a team needs sometimes to put things into perspective and get you back into line," said Miller.
After being held to nine shots in the first period, Carolina's offense exploded with four goals in the second.
On a three-on-one rush, Justin Williams found Kevyn Adams at the left post for the one-timer, the first goal of the game and Adams' 14th of the season at 6:43 of the second.
Cory Stillman slapped the puck off Henrik Tallinder's stick and between the legs of Miller after the defenseman intercepted Eric Staal's centering feed at 8:46.
With three minutes remaining in the period, Anton Babchuk's wristshot from the slot beat Miller above his left pad to expand Carolina's lead to three goals.
Justin Williams stickhandled around a stickless Tallinder, who broke his stick seconds before, and flipped a quick backhander that bounced off Miller's glove and into the net to give Carolina the 4-0 lead at 18:15.
Pominville out-fought Glen Wesley in front and redirected Toni Lydman's dribbler from the point between Gerber's legs for Buffalo's first goal of the game and his 16th of the season at 2:50.
Wesley was again front and center as Vanek scored Buffalo's second goal at 10:56.
Off a faceoff win by Derek Roy
in Carolina's zone, the rookie stickhandled around Wesley on the goal line, popped to the front of the net and slipped the puck between the netminder's legs for his 24th of the season.
Novotny brought Buffalo to within a goal with his second career NHL goal two minutes later. With Mike Grier in the penalty box for interference, Briere fed Novotny on a two-on-one rush with an across-ice pass for the easy redirect.
----------------------------------------- SCORING REPORTS
| Super Stats
| Faceoff Comp
| Play By Play
| Shift Chart GAME BLOG:
No Scoring Period 2
0-1 (6:43): On a three-on-one rush, Justin Williams found Kevyn Adams at the left post for the one-timer and the first goal of the game. The even-strength marker is Adams' 14th of the season. Williams and Rod Brind'amour get the helpers.
0-2 (8:46): Henrik Tallinder intercepts Eric Staal's centering pass in front of the net and attempted to stickhandle away from the net. Trailing the play, Cory Stillman slapped the puck off the defenseman's stick between the legs of Ryan Miller
. The goal is STillman's 18th of the season. Staal and Oleg Tverdovsky record the assists.
0-3 (17:03): Anton Babchuk's wristshot from the slot beat Ryan Miller
above his left pad to expand Carolina's lead to three goals. Matt Cullen and Frantisek Kaberle get the assists.
0-4 (18:15): Justin Williams stickhandles around Henrik Tallinder on the left wing and flipped a quick backhander that bounced off Miller's glove and into the net. Rod Brind'amour get the lone helper. Period 3
1-4 (2:50): Jason Pominville
out-fought Glen Wesley in front and redirected Toni Lydman's dribbler from the point between Gerber's legs for Buffalo's first goal of the game and his 16th of the season. Lydman and Paul Gaustad get the helpers.
2-4 (10:56): Off a faceoff win by Derek Roy
in Carolina's zone, Thomas Vanek
stickhandled around Glen Wesley, took the puck to the front of the net and slipped the puck between Gerber's legs. The goal is Vanek's 24th of the season. Roy and Maxim Afinogenov notched the assists.
3-4 (12:54): Daniel Briere fed Jiri Novotny with an across-ice pass for Novotny's second career NHL goal. The shorthanded tally brings Buffalo to within a goal of Carolina. Briere gets the primary assist while Henrik Tallinder gets the secondary.