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Sabres 3, Hurricanes 2

Sabres score twice in last 3:49 to take game from Carolina

Joakim Nordstrom celebrates a goal - (file photo)
Joakim Nordstrom celebrates a goal - (file photo)
James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Hurricanes killed off a bunch of penalties and scored late in the game to take the lead but ended up allowing two goals in the final 3:49 of the game and lost to the Buffalo Sabres, 3-2 on Tuesday night in front of 12,676 at the PNC Arena.

This was a physical, sometimes nasty game in which the home team seemed to get pushed around at times.  When they pushed back they were hit hard with penalties.  The team that normally takes the fewest penalties in the league was called for 22 minutes of penalties in this game, including a 10 minute misconduct and a two minute unsportsmanlike call.

The Sabres took the lead 1-0 at 12:22 of the first period after Carlo Colaiacovo scored his first goal of the season when his shot deflected past Cam Ward.

Chris Terry would tie it up in the second period when he made a nice shot off of a beauty of a pass by Noah Hanifin.

Late in the period, Jeff Skinner became unglued when it appeared that Rasmus Ristolainen came up high in a checking attempt.  Skinner said after the game that he felt that the Sabres had "crossed the line".  The next thing you know, it seemed that three Buffalo players were taking turns going after the Carolina winger.  Skinner ended up laying on the ice defenseless while Johan Larsson was pummeling him.

Larsson got a roughing call, Marcus Foligno also got roughing and Skinner got slashing, roughing, and the misconduct.  It's assumed he got the 10 minutes for mouthing off one time too often to the refs.

With the score still tied in the third, Brad Malone retaliated and was called for cross-checking and then must have had a word for the refs and also got called for unsportsmanlike conduct. The Canes killed off the four minutes brilliantly and gained a lot of momentum from the kill.

Shortly after the penalty kill, Jordan Staal threw a pass to Joakim Nordstrom and the Swede made a beautiful play, spinning to control the puck and then performed a perfect a leg kick move to beat Chad Johnson, giving the home team a 2-1 lead.

But the lead would not last.

Evander Kane was left alone in front of the net and he made no mistake.  Just a minute later, the Canes could not clear the puck from the zone and paid for it when Larsson would score the game-winner.

Skinner, who was obviously frustrated, took the blame for the failed clear attempt after the game.  "You have to clear the puck in those situations and I did not clear it.  That last goal is on me."

The Canes pulled Ward in the final minutes but could not generate a good scoring chance in the losing attempt.

They will travel to Columbus to battle another physical team on Thursday night.

Game Notes:

  • The Canes were out-hit 25-18 and it appeared like a bigger difference than that.  Buffalo seemed to make an effort to get into Skinner's head with physical play on him and they accomplished their goal.  Bill Peters said after the game that he would speak with the young winger and make this a learning moment.
  • The Carolina penalty kill has been outstanding the past 18 games and is killing over 90% of the powerplays they face.  They did not allow a goal this game.
  • Ron Hainsey led the team with 25:10 of ice time.  He also led the way with five blocked shots.  The team had 19 for the game.
  • The Canes outshot the Sabres 27-25.  Terry, Skinner, and Hainsey had four each.