Carolina Hurricanes hockey is back. Preseason game number one is in the books for the Canes, and they got off to a good start, defeating the Buffalo Sabres on the road by a final score of 3-2 in overtime.
Derek Ryan opened the scoring just over eight minutes into the first period, cashing in on a one-time setup from Jeff Skinner and beating Sabres starter Robin Lehner with a quick release from the top of the slot.
Buffalo bounced back just three minutes later as Seth Griffith was able to beat Jeremy Smith from just outside of the crease on an odd-man rush following a poor pinch from Jake Bean, tying the game at one.
Bill Peters said earlier this week that he has liked Josh Jooris’ versatility and that he’s more skilled than he had expected. Well, the new guy found the back of the net in his Canes preseason debut.
At the 14:53 mark of period two, Josh Jooris was able to slip one past Lehner on an odd-man short-handed rush with Derek Ryan to make it a 2-1 game.
Under a minute and a half later, Jake McCabe wristed a far-post laser past Smith from the left circle, tying the game once more prior to the end of the second period.
Both teams went with new goalies for the third period as Carolina pulled Smith for Alex Nedeljkovic and Buffalo pulled Lehner for Linus Ullmark. Both goalies showed up in an impressive way, making 10 and 12 saves, respectively, in a goalless third period.
Halfway into the overtime period, Derek Ryan scored his second goal of the game as he snuck in behind the Buffalo defense and beat Ullmark on the breakaway after getting a spring pass from Trevor van Riemsdyk in his team debut.
As expected, penalties were called early and often in this one, but Carolina’s penalty kill was stellar, killing all seven Buffalo powerplays. On the flip side of that, the Canes’ powerplay was unsuccessful on three attempts.
Ryan’s three points led the way for Carolina, but Jeff Skinner, Josh Jooris, Alex Nedeljkovic, and 2017 first-round pick Martin Necas were among the players who also had strong preseason debuts for the Hurricanes.
Among the statistical leaders for Carolina on Monday, Trevor van Riemsdyk blocked a game-high four shots, Jeff Skinner had a game-high five shots on net to go along with his first-period assist, and Andrew Poturalski led all Hurricane centers with a 71% faceoff success rate. The Canes won 52% of their faceoffs as a whole.
The team will get on a plane and head to Tampa Bay for a game against the Lightning at Amalie Arena on Tuesday night. The game will be the second of a three-in-three stretch for Carolina which will be capped by the team’s preseason home opener on Wednesday night against the Lightning.
If you haven’t seen them yet, here are the highlights from the Sabres’ team site.