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Sabres 4, Hurricanes 1

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Canes dominate early but still fall to Buffalo

Cam Ward had a tough night in Buffalo.   (file photo)
Cam Ward had a tough night in Buffalo. (file photo)
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Hurricanes went to Buffalo to face a faltering Sabres team which had been winless in the past six games, but ended up losing 4-1, in front of 18,052 at the First Niagara Center.

The Canes dominated a team as much as one could dominate another in the first period.

They held a distinct time of possession advantage, they out-chanced, out-skated, and out-shot the home team but went to the dressing room down 1-0, thanks to a Buffalo goal that bounced past Cam Ward on the short side.

The Canes outshot the Sabres 11-3 in that first period.

Victor Rask tied the score 1-1 about five minutes into the second period when he banged home an Eric Staal shot and it seemed like the Hurricanes would take over on the scoreboard as well.

But midway through the second, the Canes went on the powerplay and things went downhill after that.  After the Sabres easily killed Carolina's man advantage, Jordan Staal could not handle a pass from the defense at center ice and Jack Eichel took over.

The Buffalo star rookie stole the puck, skated it in, and blasted a shot past Ward to give the Sabres back the lead.

The wheels came completely off for the Canes when Brian Gionta scored with just 23 seconds lift in that disastrous period and the visitors found themselves down 3-1, even though they had dominated much of the play statistically.

Coach Bill Peters decided to pull Ward and replace him with Eddie Lack to start the third, but the Canes looked gassed and could muster only five more shots on goal the rest of the way.

Buffalo would notch another before all was said and done to make it a 4-1 final.

The Canes will next travel to New York and will face the Rangers on Monday night.

Game Notes:

  • Needless to say it was not a strong night for Ward who allowed that soft goal in the first period after having faced just two shots.  Overall he allowed three goals on 14 shots.  Lack allowed one on seven shots.
  • The Carolina powerplay remains last in the league with a 0-2 night.
  • For what it was worth, the Canes outshot the Sabres for the game 28-21.   They also won 58% of the game's faceoffs.
  • Event Summary
  • Jack Eichel is the real deal.