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Hurricanes Beat Sabres, Win Seventh Straight Game Before All-Star Break

The Hurricanes rode a three-goal first period to a dominant 5-1 win over the Sabres.

Carolina Hurricanes v Buffalo Sabres Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images

The Carolina Hurricanes went on the road and picked up a 5-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres in their final game before the NHL All-Star break on Wednesday night.

A three-goal first period set the tone for a fairly dominant showing. An early Buffalo penalty set the table for the Hurricanes’ suddenly capable power play to go to work, and they continued to look very capable.

Teuvo Tervainen attempted to set up Andrei Svechnikov for a chance from the slot, but the puck went back to Teravainen, and he whipped the puck to Sebastian Aho at the back door to give the Hurricanes an early 1-0 lead on the road.

The goal marked yet another tally for Aho, who is now up to 23 on the season in just 44 games. Aho’s goal extended his goal-scoring streak to six consecutive games, a stretch that has seen him find the back of the net nine times. His 205 NHL goals is now good for the fifth-most in franchise history after passing, ironically, Jeff Skinner, who was playing in his 900th NHL game.

The Hurricanes didn’t slow up after the opening goal. They hammered the Sabres throughout the opening 10 minutes, managing a 12-3 shot advantage in the process. The 12th shot made it 2-0.

After a puzzling Sabres turnover in the neutral zone, Jesperi Kotkaniemi sprung Martin Necas for a two-on-one push that ended with Stefan Noesen slamming home his ninth goal of the year.

Less than three minutes later, it was 3-0. Brent Burns finished off a slick drop pass from Kotkaniemi in the slot with his 10th goal of the season.

Buffalo went through most of the first period with just three shots on Antti Raanta, but they made a pushback, starting after Burns’ goal. The Sabres forced a Hurricanes defensive zone turnover and quickly countered for their first goal at 14:45.

Alex Tuch released the shot, which a Canes defender could have deflected, but it was absolutely perfectly placed regardless.

Tempers flared late in the period after Jack Quinn went flying into Antti Raanta after tripping on a breakaway, but the opening frame ended with the Hurricanes up by two goals.

A scoreless second period led to a slow third period. The Hurricanes went into defensive mode and limited chances against Raanta before eventually capitalizing on an offensive opportunity.

Noesen won a board battle behind the Sabres' net and centered a perfect pass to Derek Stepan. Stepan outwaited Ukko-Pekka Lukkonen and slammed home his fifth goal of the season to make it 4-1 and effectively put the game out of reach.

A Jalen Chatfield delay of game penalty late in the third period gave Buffalo a power play, boosted to a 6-on-4 by pulling the goalie, but that resulted in a quick empty-net goal from Jordan Martinook. The goal made it 5-1, which is where the score would stay.

The Hurricanes collected their seventh consecutive win heading into the All-Star break. Andrei Svechnikov and Rod Brind’Amour will represent the team there.

It was a total team effort offensively, with Noesen, Kotkaniemi, and Chatfield all recording two points. Raanta stopped 29 of 30 saves in the win.

The next time the Hurricanes hit the ice will be February 11 against the New York Rangers.