Carolina 6 – Buffalo 3
Thursday, January 24, 2013
RALEIGH, NC – Jeff Skinner and Eric Staal broke a 2-2 tie with two goals in nine seconds during the second period, as the Carolina Hurricanes doubled up the Buffalo Sabres 6-3 for their first win of the season. Staal later scored into an empty net for his third goal of the night, as the Hurricanes sent the Sabres back home with their first loss in three games to start the 48-game schedule. Jason Pominville scored twice for the Sabres, who battled back from an early 2-0 deficit during a wild six-goal middle period. Cody Hodgson scored for the third straight game, and Thomas Vanek picked up a pair of assists to give him eight points in a three-game point streak. Jhonas Enroth stopped 32 of 37 Carolina shots to take the loss in his first start of the season.
BEHIND THE NUMBERS
Drew Stafford played in his 400th career NHL game tonight; he becomes fourth player on current roster to play 400 games with the Sabres (Hecht, Vanek, Pominville)… Buffalo didn’t record their first shot on goal until Marcus Foligno’s backhand at 7:34 of first period; they trailed 6-0 at the time, and finished the first on 6-1 run… Sabres dropped to 96-64-24 all-time against Carolina in 184 games… Buffalo is 14-7-4 against Carolina since their 2006 Eastern Conference Finals series… The Sabres are now 68-61-29 all-time in the first game of a home-and-home series. They have swept the pair 32 times; been swept 25 times; and have split the other 100… Vanek leads all Sabres with 28 points (11+17) in 27 career games against Carolina.
Points: Vanek (2-6-8, 3 gms), Pominville (3-4-7, 3 gms), Hodgson (3-0-3, 3 gms)
Assists: Vanek (6, 3 gms)
Goals: Hodgson (3, 3 gms)
BUFFALO’S REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Time on Ice: Christian Ehrhoff, 25:17
Shots: Jason Pominville, 7
Blocked Shots: Ehrhoff, 4
Faceoff Wins: Tyler Ennis, 7 (7-7)
Total Faceoffs: Cody Hodgson, 18 (4-14)
Hits: Steve Ott, 5
Buffalo struggled on the power play, going 0-for-6 on the night, including three missed opportunities in the first period. They only managed eight shots with the man advantage, and are now 3/15 (20%) on the season – with all three goals coming in the first game against Philadelphia. The Sabres also gave up their first shorthanded goal of the season tonight when defenseman Justin Faulk staked Carolina to a 2-0 lead in the second period. Buffalo held Carolina’s power play scoreless in four man advantage situations, bumping them up to 13/15 (86.7%) on the penalty kill over their first three games.
In his third NHL game, rookie Mikhail Grigorenko played 3:39 in first period, including 1:45 of power play time on the right side with Tyler Ennis and Drew Stafford. His second PP shift during Eric Staal’s first period holding penalty was probably his best as a Sabre, controlling the puck down low and working the half wall with Ennis to maintain possession. Grigorenko’s ice time dropped to 2:19 on three shifts in the second period, but he played almost six minutes in the third, and even started the period in the middle between Marcus Foligno and Stafford. He finished the night at 11:47 with one shot on goal, and had another three attempts blocked. He was 1/3 on faceoffs, the first time in three games he didn’t finish on the positive side of the ledger.
Nathan Gerbe returned to the lineup after starting the season on Injured Reserve while recovering from offseason back surgery. He had one shot on goal in 10:01 of ice time… To make room for Gerbe, Ville Leino (leg injury) was placed on IR today, retroactive to last Sunday… Defensemen TJ Brennan and Mike Weber were healthy scratches for the third game in a row, along with forward Matt Ellis.
* Friday vs. Carolina, 7 p.m.
* Sunday @ Washington, 3 p.m.
* Tuesday vs. Toronto, 7 p.m.