The Buffalo Sabres could not take advantage of Carolina’s third string goalie, and fell to the Hurricanes 4-3 at the PNC Arena. Cam Ward’s injury and Dan Ellis’ illness left Justin Peters to hold down the fort for the Canes, and thats exactly what he did.
Peters’ 37 saves along with superb play from Eric Staal and Alexander Semin were too much to overcome for the Sabres. The victory for Carolina pushes their win streak to four games and snaps the Sabres streak at four games of picking up at least one point.
The Carolina Hurricanes came out in the first period and dominated play for much of the early going. Showcasing their speed and ability to cycle the puck, their constant pressure paid off at the 1:31 mark of the period. After strong work around the boards deep in the Sabres zone, Eric Staal found Jiri Tlusty alone in front of Ryan Miller where he put it away for his 11th of the season. The Sabres seemed to settle down later in the period but still were outshot 6-12.
The second period saw the Sabres and Hurricanes apply descent pressure at times during the period with both net minders coming up with some big saves. Just after the halfway point of the period with Cody Hodgson off for holding the stick, Joe Corvo slapped a screen shot past Miller for a power play goal and his third of the season.
Bobby Sanguinetti and Jussi Jokinen assisted on Carolina’s second goal of the game. At the 14:29 mark of the period, Buffalo looked to get back in the game when Jiri Tlusty took a two minute slashing penalty. Instead it was Ryan Miller who came up huge when he stopped a two man break away and robbed Alexander Semin with a glove save, keeping the sabres in it 0-2.
Buffalo got exactly what it was looking for to start the third period. With only 25 seconds off the clock Cody Hodgson skated hard to the net and slapped a bouncing puck past Justin Peters to close the gap to 2-1. Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville assisted on Hodgson’s 9th of the year.
The one goal deficit was short lived though after Eric Staal once again found a team mate standing in front of Miller. This time it was Jussi Jokinen’s turn to slide a puck past a helpless Ryan Miller and make the score 3-1. The Sabres battled throughout the period and were rewarded at the 14:33 mark when T.J. Brennan slapped a power play goal over the left shoulder of Peters for his first of the year. Grabbing assists on the Sabres second goal were Jason Pominville and Tyler Ennis.
Just like the Sabres’ first goal, their second was quickly answered by the Hurricanes. For the third time in the game, Eric Staal found himself to the right of Ryan Miller and found an open teammate. Alexander Semin was the recipient this time netting his 6th of the year and picking up his third point of the game while giving his team its two goal lead back.
To the Sabres credit they kept strong pressure on Carolina and on a beautiful play by Cody Hodgson they pulled to within one for the third time in the period. Picking up a loose puck at center ice, Hodgson skated through the Carolina defense and wristed his second of the game and 10th of the season past the Hurricane goaltender with only 35 seconds remaining in the game. The Sabres’ effort fell short largely due to their poor defensive play and a strong outing from Justin Peters who stopped 37 shots.
The two clubs each have a day off before resuming play Thursday evening. The Carolina Hurricanes host the Montreal Canadiens while the Buffalo Sabres travel to New Jersey where they will meet the Devils for the second time in less than a week.