The Hurricanes’ second win in as many nights over the Sabres came during the third period as defenseman Jay Harrison scored the game-winning goal, his first of the season, while goaltender Dan Ellis earned his first victory in a Hurricanes jersey, stopping 40 shots in the process.
After defeating the Sabres 6-3 in Raleigh the previous night, coach Kirk Muller and his team continued to ‘stay the course’ and played a game that made the Hurricanes ‘tough to defend against’ once again.
Final period offense
While neither team could generate offense on the power play on Thursday, they both generated their first goals of the game in man-advantage situations during the third period.
After playing a scoreless, penalty-filled first period, in which the Hurricanes outshot the Sabres 14-10, Buffalo put the heat on Carolina during the second, outshooting them 18-10.
As Carolina’s Jordan Staal barely had time to warm his seat in the penalty box after being called for tripping early in the third period, Thomas Vanek scored the game’s first goal at 1:56.
Returning the favor soon afterwards, Buffalo’s Marcus Foligno was called for high-sticking and put Carolina’s power play back in motion.
Working the puck out of the corner from the hash marks along the boards to the right of Sabres netminder Ryan Miller, Alexander Semin moved the puck into the slot area and scored his first goal of the season, and his first as a member of the Carolina Hurricanes.
Miller never had a chance to see the shot as Jordan Staal, who earned an assist on the play, provided the necessary distraction to block his view as Semin let loose a wrist shot that roofed the puck over Miller’s glove hand.
With the game tied 1-1, both teams skated from end-to-end throughout the period until captain Eric Staal won a faceoff to Miller’s left, back to Harrison.
As Harrison moved the puck into position, his wrist shot found its way to the net to score the eventual game-winning goal at the 15:10 mark.
With Jiri Tlusty and Staal hovering in front of him, Miller didn’t get a clean look at the shot as his last-second reaction came too late as the puck sailed over his shoulder.
With Carolina leading 2-1, the Sabres pulled Miller for the extra attacker in an attempt to tie the game while playing a man down as a result of a Vanek cross-checking penalty.
With less than a minute to play, Harrison passed the puck out of the Hurricanes zone to Jeff Skinner who entered the Buffalo zone while fending off Buffalo defender Tyler Myers.
As Skinner moved away from Myers and towards the empty net, he scored his fourth goal of the season, on the power play, with a backhand shot over a sprawling Andrej Sekera to secure the 3-1 victory for Carolina.
With the win, the Hurricanes moved into third place in the Southeast Division with a 2-2 record.
The team will practice on Sunday in preparation for its next game at PNC Arena on Monday when it faces off against the Boston Bruins.