The Carolina Hurricanes put up a season high 23 shots on goal in the first period and ended up with 52 for the game, but still dropped their contest to the Buffalo Sabres, 4-3 on Monday night at the First Niagara Center.
The Canes fell behind 4-0 before they could get a puck past goalie Anders Lindback, who had no trouble stopping Carolina shots until late in the second period. Lindback made 49 saves on the 52 shots he faced.
Cam Ward was in net for the visitors and he made 21 saves on the 25 Buffalo shots reaching him.
There were no penalties called against either team in this game, the first time that has happened in the NHL this season.
Buffalo could have clinched 30th place with a loss but will have to wait another game for that privilege.
The Hurricanes started out the game with shot after shot at Lindback, but most of them were easy ones with no traffic out front.
The Sabres had fewer shot attempts but they took advantage of a few miscues in the Carolina zone to get on the scoreboard.
At the end of the first period it was 2-0 and a minute and change into the second it was 3-0.
The Sabres made it 4-0, 16:48 into the period but then Carolina finally got on the board with a very pretty backhander by Patrick Dwyer with just a bit over a minute left in the second.
The Canes played better in the third and made Lindback work a bit harder in net.
Alexander Semin would make it 4-2 as he took the Buffalo goalie out of the net and tucked it in behind him, then Eric Staal made it 4-3 with 5:22 left, after coach Bill Peters had pulled out the Carolina goalie for an extra attacker.
Lindback and the Sabres held on the rest of the way.
The Canes traveled right after the game to Detroit for a match against the Red Wings on Tuesday night.
- The Canes won 70% in the faceoff circle. Andrej Nestrasil was high man at 80%, (8 of 10).
- Semin had a game high 8 shots on goal followed by Nathan Gerbe with 7.
- This was not exactly playoff hockey as both teams were saving themselves for the golf course. Carolina had a total of 6 hits, Buffalo had 10.
- The Hurricanes missed the net 15 times and had 18 shots blocked for a grand total of 85 shot attempts. The Sabres only had one blocked and missed the net five times for a toal of 31 attempts. Needless to say, puck possession favored the Canes if you like those stats.
- Carolina was credited with 10 giveaways for the game.