Buffalo Sabres (11-7-0) at Carolina Hurricanes (6-10-3)
Friday, Nov 18, 2011, 7:00 PM EST | RBC Center | Raleigh, NC
Tonight's Starting Goaltenders:
|Hurricanes - Brian Boucher||5||249||0||2||16||3.86||118||102||.864||0|
|Sabres - Jhonas Enroth||9||493||6||1||18||2.19||242||224||.926||0|
6:00 1st: Kind of a tepid start to the night for both teams, combining for only 3 total shots so far. The Canes have had the better of the scoring opportunities, for what they're worth, with a couple of nice tip chances. The Sabres' D seems a little bit slow to react, but they're jumping up in the play regularly and looking to go the other way any chance they get.
13:04 1st: Sabres lead 1-0; Pominville 8 (Vanek, Boyes) (pp) An early power play puts the Sabres on the board first, as a tip pass from Thomas Vanek into the low slot bounced off Bryan Allen and in on Brian Boucher. who had absolutely no idea where the puck was and only made the initial save through pure luck. The rebound bounced right back to Pominville, who put it past Boucher just as the goaltender realized where the puck was.
14:45 1st: The Canes need all the offensive help they can get, and having one of their "offensive" players fire the puck wide from fifteen feet doesn't do anyone any favors. Alexei Ponikarovsky was the guilty party that time, but he's simply a symptom of a bigger problem. Since an early 2-1 shot advantage, the Sabres have caught fire, outshooting the Canes 9-4 in the ensuing ten minutes.
End 1st: Say this for the Canes: it wasn't nearly the complete disaster that Wednesday night was. Even more encouraging, the ice time was much better distributed than it has been recently, with the pairing of Justin Faulk and Jay Harrison playing the most of any defensive pairing. Shots in the periods ended 10-8 Sabres.
3:23 2nd: You say the Canes are having a bit of offensive difficulty, eh? If you saw Tim Brent flub a shot on an open net, somehow finding Tyler Myers instead of the back of the net while Jhonas Enroth was down on the ice after being slew footed by his own man, you'd believe. Between that and the Ponikarovsky miss from earlier, plus a Zach Boychuk scoring opportunity that went by the wayside late in the first period, it's easy to see why the Canes have lost seven of their last ten games.
7:10 2nd: I know it's probably trite to say this, given the predicament the Canes find themselves in, but they deserve better than they've gotten tonight. While it hasn't scored, the power play has moved the puck very well and has come close multiple times. Justin Faulk is manning the point on the second unit and doesn't look a bit out of place, glancing a shot off the crossbar near the end of a power play. At the other end, the Canes have yet to allow a Buffalo shot in this period.
18:00 2nd: Paul Maurice paired up what had been his go-to defensive pairing of Tim Gleason and Bryan Allen again tonight, and it's paying dividends. They have the most ice time of the Canes' defensemen, and Allen proved his worth with a beautiful sliding block of a Luke Adam centering pass on a 2-on-1. If what Kurt Dusterberg said yesterday on CC Radio is true and Allen is trade bait because of his expiring contract, a few more games like this certainly won't hurt his potential value.
End 2nd: We're quickly approaching the point - if we aren't there already - where saying "it was a good period" isn't enough. The Canes did play well in the 2nd, outshooting Buffalo 12-4 in the period to take a 20-14 lead overall, but with a round number still present on the scoreboard it wasn't nearly enough. And, as if anyone needed a reminder, the Canes aren't exactly setting the world on fire in the third period this year.
4:00 3rd: Tomas Kaberle has been a whipping boy this season, and for the most part it's been warranted. Every night he makes at least one play that just makes you scratch your head and wonder exactly what he was trying to accomplish. Tonight's entry was an ill-advised fumbling of the puck through his legs and right onto the stick of Drew Stafford, who forced Boucher to make a big kick save to keep it 1-0.
12:00 3rd: As of this very minute, the Hurricanes have gone 123:24 without a goal dating to the third period of the Philadelphia game on Monday. And counting.
16:20 3rd: The Canes are throwing everything they have at Enroth, and coming up empty. Moral victories are nice, but don't accomplish a earned thing given the Canes' current predicament. They need goals, stat.
End 3rd: That'll do it, with Enroth's second straight shutout against Carolina. First time the Canes have lost 1-0 at home since 1984.