This is the final meeting between these two teams for the regular season. The Hurricanes have won two of the first three, despite being towards the bottom of the Eastern Conference.
Tim Connolly began the scoring with a power play goal to give the Sabres a 1-0 lead. Buffalo played a solid first period, only allowing six shots on goal.
In the second period, Jochen Hecht was Henrik Zetterberg like on his two goals. Hecht beat two defensemen followed by goaltender Justin Peters for the Sabres second goal. Then, Hecht faked out Peters, and scored on a wrap-around to put Buffalo up by three.
Toni Lydman and Thomas Vanek came down the ice on a two on one rush. Lydman looked toward Vanek, then shot it by Peters for the Sabres’ 4-0 lead. The shorthanded goal caused a goaltender change, bringing Manny Legace into the game. Less than a minute later, the Hurricanes got on the board with a shot that was deflected past Miller.
The Sabres rebounded with a goal from Tim Kennedy. Roy and Vanek set up a three way passing play to make it 5-1 Buffalo. The Hurricanes got a gift that lead to the second goal of the evening for Carolina.
Towards the end of the third, Adam Maire took a four minute penalty. The Hurricanes elected to pull their goalie to make it a six on four. It didn’t take long before they were able to blast one by Miller to make it 5-3.
Carolina continued to put pressure on with the goaltender pulled, but the Sabres held on to win 5-3. The Sabres have now won three straight games and improved to 25-0 when leading after two periods.
The Sabres will head home to prepare for three games in four nights at HSBC Arena. Ottawa, Montreal, and Tampa Bay will all come to Buffalo this week, giving the Sabres a chance to run away with the division lead.
Kevin "Jochen" Freiheit