The Carolina Hurricanes won their fourth game in a row as they defeated the Buffalo Sabres in overtime Thursday night, 4-3. Brandon Sutter was the star of the game for the home team as he scored Carolina's first goal and set up the game winner in the extra period.
The Sabres jumped out to a 2-0 lead early in the game as Carolina had trouble getting the puck out of their own zone. Derek Roy scored inside of three minutes off of an Andrew Alberts turnover and Jochen Hecht scored at the 13 minute mark on a shot which took a bad bounce and fooled goalie Manny Legace.
But the Canes didn't fold, they kept battling back and the Sabres started taking penalties.
Sutter scored during the Hurricanes first powerplay as he took a puck from under a Buffalo defenseman and flicked it by a surprised Ryan Miller. Then Ray Whitney scored on another powerplay chance with just two seconds left in the opening period.
The Canes went into the dressing room with all the momentum and came out on fire in the second period.
While they had multiple opportunities, (and once had a three on zero chance, which Miller stopped), the only goal of the period was scored by Stephane Yelle, who got a perfect shot past Miller that perhaps the goalie would like to have back.
Yelle had an excellent game and had a couple of other prime chances. But Miller rose to the occasion and made several fine saves the rest of the game to keep his team in it.
On the other side, Manny Legace had another solid game and looked pretty comfortable in his own right. But the Sabres put on plenty of pressure in the third period and finally tied the score on yet another turnover in the Hurricanes end.
It looked like Joni Pitkanen was going to break the puck out, but Derek Roy was all over it. Legace made a fine stop on the initial shot by the Buffalo sniper, but Roy took the rebound behind the net and got the puck past Pitkanen and into the net as the defenseman tried to recover.
With the score tied, both teams battled but neither could take advantage and the contest went into overtime.
Just a minute and change into the extra stanza, Brandon Sutter made a beautiful, no-look backhanded pass to the front of the Buffalo net and Sergei Samsonov was right there to bang in the game-winner. Sutter said after the game that he saw his teammate out of the corner of his eye and tried to get him the puck.
The victory gives the Hurricanes eight wins in their last ten games. While the odds of making the playoffs are still slim to none, no one in the locker room has given up yet. They are all saying the same thing, as long as they are not mathematically eliminated, they still feel they have a chance.
Next up is New Jersey on Saturday night.
- Sutter was a star on the ice. He finished with three points, (1G 2A), had one takeaway, one blocked shot, and won 75% of his faceoffs. Not bad for a kid who didn't even make the team after training camp and had to start out in Albany.
- Manny Legace probably wishes he could play against the Sabres every night. He has a lifetime record of 5-0 against Buffalo including his win against them last week. Legace has won all three of his starts since Cam Ward went down with back pain. The Canes are 4-0 since Ward's last start in Calgary. (Justin Peters has the other win.)
- The Hurricanes have a record of 19-3-1 when leading after two periods.
- Head coach Paul Maurice earned his 400th career victory with the win. Overall his record is 400-406-99-50 for a .497 winning percentage out of 954 games.
- Jussi Jokinen picked up an assist on the Ray Whitney goal and extended his scoring streak to eight games.
- Once again Aaron Ward led the team with three blocked shots. The team had a total of 15 for the game.
- The Canes were credited with a total of 30 hits led by Patrick Dwyer with five. Tim Gleason, Steven Goertzen, and Andrew Alberts had four each.
- Joni Pitkanen had six shots on goal, a team high. In all, the club had 35 shots on goal.
There were plenty of rumors floating around the press area, but nothing of substance. Scouts from several teams attended including: Toronto, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Montreal, Minnesota, Columbus, Los Angeles, and the New York Islanders. Will the rumored "Cullen deal" take place today?
The club has an optional practice on Friday at 11.