The offense has returned for the Carolina Hurricanes.
After scoring only seven goals during a recent four-game losing streak, the Canes have now scored thirteen in their last two games. Jordan Staal scored his 100th goal as a Hurricane, while Teuvo Teravainen and Andrei Svechnikov each recorded three points, in a 5-4 overtime win over the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday.
Petr Mrazek made 29 saves for the Hurricanes, who won their second straight game overall and their first on the road since October 15th. Canes coach Rod Brind’Amour summed up the night, “You felt like you never knew who was going to get that last goal...all in all, it’s a good two points.”
Carter Hutton made 24 saves for the Sabres, who lost their fifth straight but earned a point in the overtime loss.
Former Hurricane Jeff Skinner opened the scoring at 4:26 of the first period when he slammed home a nifty backhand pass from Conor Sheary. The goal was Skinner’s first in five games and his eighth on the season.
Later, at 12:07 in the first, Canes captain Staal evened the score on a deflected shot from the slot. With the goal, Jordan joins his brother Eric as a 100-goal scorer for the Hurricanes. They are the eighth set of brothers to each score 100 goals for the same NHL team.
With the first period winding down, Aho gave the Canes the lead on their first power play. A seam pass from Svechnikov to Teravainen freed up Aho in the slot, who deflected Teravainen’s pass beyond Hutton.
Less than a minute into the second period, the Canes stretched their lead to 3-1 on a goal at 0:47. A no-look pass from Svechnikov was slammed home at the side of the net. What first appeared to be Aho’s second goal of the night was later credited to Teravainen.
Trailing by two, the Sabres picked up the intensity in the latter stages of the second period. They pulled to within one on a breakaway goal from Curtis Lazar, who blocked a point shot from Haydn Fleury and then beat Mrazek.
In the third, the Sabres kept up the pressure and tied the game at 13:35. Ryan Dzingel was unable to control a pass from Brett Pesce, and the puck fell to Henri Jokiharju, who buried a wrister to tie the game.
The Canes earned a power play late in the third, and Svechnikov made it count. He scored his eighth of the season to give the Canes a 4-3 lead with less than four minutes to play. But the Sabres weren’t done yet. With six skaters on the ice, Johan Larsson tipped a Skinner shot past Mrazek to tie the game at four and send it to overtime.
In the extra frame, rookie Martin Necas blew by the Sabres defense and found Dougie Hamilton for the game-winner. It was Hamilton’s ninth goal of the season, tying him for the league-lead in goals for a defenseman. Hamilton described the winning goal, “[Necas] made a great play...I was just hoping that he was going to score...I realized he was going to pass it to me...It wasn’t the best angle, but when in doubt, you shoot the puck, right?”
The win was the Hurricanes’ tenth straight against the Sabres, extending a franchise-record streak of wins against one opponent that dates to 2016.
The Canes continue their road trip with a Saturday afternoon game in Minnesota against former Canes Captain Eric Staal.