The Buffalo Sabres put an end to the Carolina Hurricanes home and overall winning streaks with an easy 5-1 victory at the RBC Center Thursday night. The Sabres needed a win to keep their slim playoff hopes alive and played with much more intensity than the home team did, but ended up being eliminated anyway as the Rangers defeated the Flyers a bit later in the night.
The few times that the Hurricanes did mount some effective offensive pressure, Ryan Miller was equal to the task. But Eric Staal was able to ruin the shutout bid with just 28 seconds left in the game as he put in his 40th goal of the season.
Cam Ward started his 28th straight game, but was replaced in the second period after allowing the fourth goal of the game. Paul Maurice has not decided if he would start again in New Jersey on Saturday.
The Canes escaped the affair without any reportable injuries, although Rod Brind'Amour took a nasty shot to the head from a hit by Daniel Paille. Joe Corvo took exception to the hit and jumped the Buffalo winger and was lucky to only be called for a roughing penalty afterwards. Good for Corvo, for sticking up for his teammate though.
There is not much more to say about the game and there is no sense in over-analyzing it. Since the Flyers lost as well, home ice advantage is still a possibility for the first round. All winning streaks must come to an end, and it is better that this happened now rather than later in the playoffs. The Canes will put this game behind them very quickly. Coach Maurice asked the media to do the same.
Not only were the Sabres eliminated last night, but the Florida Panthers were as well. Montreal earned a point while losing to Boston in OT, and the Rangers are in the post season by virtue of their win against the Flyers. The eight teams in the East are all set, now it's just a matter of who plays who.
The last regular season game of the year will be in New Jersey at 1PM in the afternoon. Can they sweep the Devils this season?