The Carolina Hurricanes jumped out to an early lead and then held on as they swept the season series from the Buffalo Sabres with a 4-3 victory on Tuesday night at the PNC Arena.
Alexander Semin was named the game's first star and had the game winning goal to go along with two assists. Justin Peters, who was recently recalled from the Charlotte Checkers, picked up the win in net with 37 saves.
The Hurricanes wasted little time as arguably the most dangerous line in the NHL right now put a goal on the scoreboard just 1:31 into the contest. Alex Semin kept the puck in the zone, then passed it out front to Eric Staal, who then sent a nifty pass to Jiri Tlusty. The Czech winger beat Ryan Miller for his 11th goal of the season.
The assist was Eric Staal's 600th career NHL point.
The Canes pretty much dominated the opening period but did not score again until 12:17 into the second period on a powerplay goal by Joe Corvo.
The Sabres started to put more effort into keeping the puck in the Carolina zone, but Peters made a few nice saves, including one highlight type sprawling steal of a Thomas Vanek attempt at an open net, to keep the lead at 2-0.
Buffalo opened the third period as they closed the second but this time were able to get the puck past Peters as Cody Hodgson made a nice move just 35 seconds in.
The Hurricanes answered almost immediately when Jussi Jokinen beat Miller on a pass from Staal, 50 seconds later. But the Sabres did not give up and put even more pressure on. By midway through the third period, they were out-shooting the Hurricanes 10-1 and Peters was making save after save to hold the two goal lead.
But just as a 5-on-3 Buffalo advantage expired, T.J. Brennan scored his first goal of the season to make things interesting once again. The Canes got into penalty trouble when Jay Harrison was called for tripping and Jamie McBain sent the puck over the glass on a clearing attempt. The team did a nice job of killing 1:11 of the two man advantage, but the goal was scored just as Harrison skated out of the box.
Once again, it did not take the Hurricanes long to answer as Semin wristed in a beauty past Miller just 1:40 after the Brennan goal. This goal turned out to be the game winner as Buffalo would score one more time with just 35 seconds left, on another pretty Hodgson move.
After the game, Kirk Muller was very pleased with the first two periods but a desperate Buffalo team controlled most of the third and outshot the Canes, 18-4.
The Hurricanes are now 4-0-0 when leading after one period and 9-0-0 when leading after two. Their next match will be against the Montreal Canadiens at the PNC on Thursday night.
- It was an excellent showing by Peters for his first game of the season for the Canes. He mentioned that it had been a hectic 24 hours for him, but obviously he was looking forward to the game after getting the news this morning that he was starting.
- Semin (1G 2A) and Staal (3A) both had three points and finished at (+2), adding to their league best plus/minus totals. Jokinen (1G 1A) had two points.
- Justin Faulk had a team high 24:08 of ice time and seemed to play better than his (-2) would indicate.
- Jay Harrison and Tim Gleason shared team honors with three blocked shots each.
- The Canes had 28 shots on goal, a bit lower than their league leading 33 shots per game average. Riley Nash and Jiri Tlusty each had four to lead the way.
- The Canes won 55% of the game's faceoffs. (J Staal 50%, E Staal 57%, Riley Nash 57%, Jokinen 80%, Brett Sutter 50