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Poor second period costs Sabres in Raleigh

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The Sabres dropped their sixth straight game as they fell to the Carolina Hurricanes 5-2 Thursday night. With the loss the Sabres remain in 27th place in the league, only one point ahead of Carolina.

The Hurricanes outshot the Sabres 10-5 in the opening period, but the offensive explosion didn’t take place until the second period.

The teams exchanged goals early in the second period with the Hurricanes’ Jeff Skinner striking first five minutes into the period, and Phil Varone scoring his first of the year for the Sabres only a minute later.

The Hurricanes would rattle off three straight goals in under a minute and twenty seconds.

“It’s different mistakes from different people every time,” Buffalo coach Ted Nolan said. “We’ve got to be mentally sharp. We talked about it before the game. We’ve got to be alert, we’ve got be sure we’re intense, we’ve got to bring some urgency. That didn’t happen, and when it doesn’t happen, you take bad penalties and the game’s over.”

This almost literal explosion of offense was prompted by a Jiri Tlusty power play goal. The Canes would strike again fifty-three seconds later as Eric Staal banked a puck off of Mike Weber’s skate from behind the net as a Buffalo penalty had expired. Carolina found themselves on the scoreboard once again 26 seconds later; Victor Rask found himself perfectly positioned in front of the net to deflect a point shot after a Mike Weber turnover handed the puck to a Carolina d-man.

Phil Varone would add his second goal of both the night and the season midway through the third period. However, Carolina would respond under two minutes later to regain their three goal lead.

Jhonas Enroth stopped 26 of 31 shots in the loss.

“Our top line, if they’re not scoring, we don’t have much scoring throughout,” Nolan said. “Varone, just called up recently, he gets two of our goals tonight and he played a strong game for us. But you shouldn’t rely on call-ups to get goals for you. You need production.”

The Sabres will be back in action tomorrow as they travel to Tampa Bay to take on the Eastern Conference leading Lightning.

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