The Carolina Hurricanes secured their first win of the season by defeating the visiting Buffalo Sabres 6-3 Friday night at the PNC Arena. Captain Eric Staal led the team with three goals, Jeff Skinner netted two and defender Justin Faulk scored a shorthanded goal in the second period to give the Hurricanes their best offensive output of this young season (had been outscored 9-2 in first two games of season). Starting goaltender Cam Ward made 30 saves in route to the win, while Buffalo starting goalie Jhonas Enroth earned the loss for the Sabres.
The Carolina Hurricanes got the scoring started 1:02 into the second period when Jeff Skinner picked up a defected Jordan Staal shot in front of the Buffalo Sabres' net and lifted a backhand shot under the crossbar to give the Hurricanes a 1-0 lead. The goal was Skinner's second of the season and was assisted by Jordan Staal and Zac Dalpe. The Hurricanes would take a 2-0 lead on a shorthanded goal from Justin Faulk a short 3:04 later; Faulk led the attack into the Buffalo offensive zone and blasted a slap shot past Jhonas Enroth. The goal was Faulk's first of the season and was assisted by Jordan Staal.
The Sabres tied the game with two unanswered goals less than two minutes apart at the 8:50 mark in the second period and 10:39 into the second. Cody Hodgson netted his third of the season on a backhand shot assisted by Jordan Leopold and Thomas Vanek; Jason Pominville tied the score 2-2 with his second of the season, a tip-in shot, assisted by Christian Ehroff and Alexander Sulzer.
The Hurricanes would break the tie by scoring two goals in nine seconds to take a 4-2 lead in the second period. Jeff Skinner scored his second of the game 13:56 into the second period after stealing the puck from behind the Sabres' net and jamming a wrap-around shot past Enroth to give the Hurricanes a 3-2 lead. Captain Eric Staal would put the team up 4-2 a mere :09 seconds later when Eric Staal took a lead pass from Jamie McBain and beat Jhonas Enroth with a quick move on the breakaway; the goal was Staal's first of the season and was assisted by Jamie McBain and Joni Pitkanen.
The Hurricanes continued playing well in the third period and secured the home victory despite the Sabres cutting the lead to 4-3 after a goal by Jason Pominville. Pominville took a creative around the back pass from Thomas Vanek and buried a wrist shot past Cam Ward to cut the deficit to 4-3. Eric Staal netted the next two goals for the Hurricanes to record the hat trick and give the team their first victory of the season. Staal beat Enoth with a snap shot 9:26 into the third period, assisted by Joni Pitkanen, and recorded an empty-net goal with 1:28 remaining in the game to complete the hat trick.
Tags: Buffalo Sabres, Cam Ward, Carolina, Carolina Hurricanes, Eric Staal, Hockey, Jeff Skinner, Jhonas enroth, NHL, thomas vanek