THE AFTERMATH: HURRICANES 1, SABRES 0
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Cam Ward stopped 40 shots - including 22 in the first period - to help the Carolina Hurricanes creep closer to playoff contention with a 1-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night.
Brandon Sutter scored in the final minute of the first period, and the Hurricanes snapped a four-game winless streak (0-3-1). With 74 points, ninth-place Carolina moved to within two points of the Sabres for the Eastern Conference's eighth and final playoff spot with 3 1/2 weeks left in the regular season.
The Sabres had their chances, outshooting the Hurricanes 40-33 despite being shut out for the fifth time this season. Buffalo dropped to 7-3-2 in its past 12 games and fell two points behind the New York Rangers, who moved into seventh place after beating the Islanders 6-3 earlier in the evening. ...more.
The Sabres had played a solid first period, outshooting Carolina 22-12 through the first 19 minutes, and it appeared the teams would head to the locker rooms scoreless after the first 20 minutes of play. With the clock winding down, the Hurricanes were applying pressure deep in the Buffalo zone, and Brandon Sutter dug a loose puck out of traffic in the slot and backhanded it into the Sabres’ net while falling to his knees to give Carolina a 1-0 lead with 43 seconds remaining in the first period. Buffalo was unable to score in the period despite tying its season-high with 22 shots on goal. Prior to the goal, the Sabres had scored first in 10 of their last 11 games, during which they went 7-2-2.
- Tonight’s game was the second game of a four-game homestand for Buffalo and marked its first home loss in regulation since Feb. 20. The loss drops them to game 7-3-2 in their last 12 games.
- This was Buffalo’s fifth shutout loss of the season and the team is now 1-2-0 in 1-0 games this year.
- Tyler Ennis (3-2-5), Thomas Vanek (2-3-5) and Tim Connolly (1-3-4) each had their three-game point streaks snapped.
- Drew Stafford returned after missing two games with a lower-body injury and registered 19:48 TOI and took five shots.
- The Sabres tied a season-high with 22 shots in the first period and finished with 40 for the game. Stafford, Tim Connolly, Jason Pominville and Tyler Ennis each registered five shots on goal.
- Jordan Leopold led all skaters with 27:24 of ice time and also blocked a game-high six shots.
- The Sabres wore their royal blue, 40th anniversary jerseys for the third consecutive home game.
- Tonight’s crowd of 18,690 gave the Sabres their sixth consecutive sellout at HSBC Arena.
- Jochen Hecht (upper body), Patrick Kaleta (bone bruise in leg) and Patrick Lalime (knee) remained sidelined for Buffalo while Chris Butler was scratched.
- Right wing Troy Bodie and defenseman Jamie McBain were out of the lineup forCarolina.
The Sabres do not play again until Saturday when the Atlanta Thrashers come to Buffalo. The three-day layoff between games is Buffalo’s longest stretch without a game since the All-Star break, when the team had no games from Jan. 26 to Feb. 3. When Atlanta last came to HSBC Arena on Feb. 23, the Sabres and Thrashers were tied with 60 points apiece and were both on the outside of the playoff picture looking in. Three weeks later, the Sabres have surged into a playoff position by going (7-3-2), including a 4-1 win over the Thrashers in that game, and have moved six points ahead of Atlanta. Saturday’s game will be the fourth and final meeting between the teams this season.