Sometimes it seems like you can do everything right, but things still don't work out. That was the feeling in the Carolina Hurricanes locker room Sunday night after they lost to the Buffalo Sabres, 2-1 in OT in front of 18,740 at the RBC.
With their playoff hopes on the line, the team had chance after chance, both on the powerplay and at even strength, but they could not finish. Rookie goalie Jhonas Enroth made 35 saves and picked up the crucial win for the visitors.
Even though they picked up what could be an important point, the Canes stay in ninth place in the conference, two points behind the New York Rangers and now need for the Rangers to lose at least one of their remaining games to have a chance at the postseason.
The game started out a bit frenetic, even if most shots did not make it to each team's respective nets.
At 10:47, the Sabres dented the scoreboard first when Chris Butler scored his first goal of the season as he beat Cam Ward high glove side, on the short side. Butler was the trailing man on a 3-on-2 odd man rush and was wide open on the play.
The Canes tied the game up on a weird play. Eric Staal put a shot on net and the puck hit something, bounced up high in the air, over Enroth, and into the goal.
The Canes had the better of the play in the last two periods and had multiple chances to take the lead, especially in the third period. Chad LaRose would shoot the puck high on an open chance, Jussi Jokinen would just miss, and Brandon Sutter was stopped by Enroth as he broke in alone.
The Canes had 1:01 of a 5-on-3 advantage and came close when Joe Corvo hit the post, but the home team could not light the lamp. All in all, the powerplay was disappointing as Carolina officially finished 0-for-5 on the night on seven Buffalo penalties.
The Sabres game winner came on another fluke play as rookie Marc-Andre Gragnani put a shot on net that look like it deflected twice before bouncing into the net behind Ward.
After the game, the goalie said he didn't see what the puck hit, but Gragnani was credited with his first career goal and it couldn't have come at a better time for Buffalo.
Needless to say, it was a quiet room after the game. They felt like they worked hard and did a lot of things right, but the game did not go their way this time.
Next up will be another toughie as the Detroit Red Wings come to town for a game on Wednesday night.
Quick Stats and Thoughts:
- Both Ruutu and Jokinen got banged up, but came right back after catching a breath. Ruutu finished with three hits and five shots on goal.
- In all, the team combined for 36 shots on goal and outshot the Sabres in both the second and third periods. Sutter also had five while Cole, Staal, and Pitkanen had four each.
- Erik Cole was a monster this game and was credited with 11 hits. The team finished with a total of 33.
- In all, the Sabres were called for seven penalties and the Hurricanes could not take advantage. The Canes were called for three.
- The team's faceoff percentage was a dismal 41% and that cost them valuable powerplay time.
Post game interviews: