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Hurricanes vs Sabres Recap: Canes Sustain Early Lead to Defeat Buffalo 3-1

An early first period goal by Jeff Skinner set the tone for the game

Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images

For the second straight game, an early goal set the pace for the Carolina Hurricanes as they hung on for a win, this time in regulation, over the Buffalo Sabres by a 3-1 score.

The Canes took a 1-0 lead off the stick of Jeff Skinner, as he took a lead pass from Jaccob Slavin, faked a shot to get Sabres goalie Robin Lehner to commit, then wristed a shot home over Lehner’s glove.

Later in the period, Justin Faulk found the back of the net for his sixth of the year. Faulk was the back man on a 3-on-2 odd man rush and had time and space to collect the pass from Lee Stempniak. He placed the puck perfectly over Lehner’s far side shoulder to put the Hurricanes up 2-0 going into the second.

Despite the Hurricanes’ success early in the game, they struggled to convert on the power play going 0-4, with all four opportunities coming in the second period. This was a result of poor zone entries and the Sabres doing an excellent job of clogging the blue line. For their part, the Canes’ penalty kill was characteristically excellent, killing both Sabres minor penalties on the evening.

A scoreless second period was nonetheless exciting and fast-paced, including a rung goalpost by Jack Eichel and a fight between Jordan Staal and Zach Bogosian.

Buffalo ended the second period with some momentum and brought it with them in the third as Johan Larsson found the back of the net five minutes into the period. Larsson converted on a pass from Sam Reinhart behind the net, a spot where the Canes have had serious issues lately defending.

However, Larsson’s goal was the only one the Sabres could get past Cam Ward, and Sebastian Aho put the game away wheeling his way past Sabres defenders to convert into the empty net to give the Hurricanes a 3-1 lead that held up as the final score.

The Hurricanes, now 2-0 against Buffalo this year, will take this season series even as they play the Sabres one more time at PNC Arena on January 13. The Bruins will make their way to Raleigh and face the Hurricanes tomorrow night at PNC Arena with puck drop at 7:30 pm EST.

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