The Carolina Hurricanes have been looking for a dependable backup for starting goalie Cam Ward for quite some time and it looks like they finally found one in Dan Ellis. Ellis made 40 saves and backstopped the Hurricanes to their second win of the season with a 3-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Friday night in Buffalo.
The win was their second in a row and evened the club's record at 2-2.
After two scoreless periods of back and forth hockey, Thomas Vanek would score a powerplay goal just 1:56 into the third period for the home team. It was Vanek's third of the season and Jason Pominville picked up the primary assist.
But Alexander Semin would tie things up less than two minutes later when he zipped a high shot past Ryan Miller. The goal was Semin's first as a Hurricane and was also a powerplay tally.
The two teams battled back and forth until Jay Harrison was able to solve Miller again with a shot from inside the blueline right after Eric Staal won a key faceoff. The score gave the Hurricanes a 2-1 lead with just about five minutes remaining.
Ellis and the Canes were able to hold on the rest of the way until Jeff Skinner knocked in an empty netter with 26 clicks left on the clock.
Skinner has now scored in three straight games.
The Canes dominated in the faceoff circle and won 65% of the game's faceoffs, including the huge won that led to the Harrison game winning goal. Jussi Jokinen won 82% and Eric Staal won 68%.
Carolina will next face the Boston Bruins at home on Monday night.
- The team had 42 shots on goal led by Skinner with 7 and Semin with 6. The Sabres had 41 of their own.
- Ellis had several outstanding saves and looked calm and steady throughout, despite heavy pressure at times.
- Tim Gleason had a team high 3 blocked shots. Gleason jumped in to protect Justin Faulk when Steve Ott lined up the young defenseman and was given an instigator misconduct for his trouble. He did get the best of Ott though and it is was good of him to stand up for his teammate.
- Faulk left the game in the second period with an upper body injury and his status is unknown.
- The team was credited with 14 hits, led by Jordan Staal with 3.
- The goal was well earned and due for Semin, who has had several close chances and good passes that did not quite connect for goals. He fed Skinner an open chance in front of the net earlier in the game which the youngster was unable to get his stick on.
- Cory will have his analysis tomorrow.