The Carolina Hurricanes recorded their fourth-straight victory last night with a 4-3 victory at home against the Buffalo Sabres; captain Eric Staal tallied three assists, including his 600th career point, and starting goaltender Justin Peters made 37 saves to record the victory in his first start of the season for the Hurricanes. Peters is starting in place of the injured Cam Ward who will miss the next four-to-six weeks with a third-degree MCL sprain, and also started ahead of usual backup Dan Ellis who missed the game with an illness.
Jiri Tlusty netted his 11th of the season early in the first period, putting the Hurricanes on the board first for the fourth consecutive game. The Canes' top scoring line did well to keep the puck in the offensive zone; and after Alexander Semin passed the puck to Eric Staal on top the faceoff circle, Staal rifled a pass to an open Tlusty sitting high in the slot who lifted a tipped shot past Sabres' starting goaltender Ryan Miller to put the Hurricanes up 1-0.
The Hurricanes doubled their lead 12:17 into the second period on a powerplay goal by Joe Corvo. Corvo found a small shooting lane through a Jordan Staal screen and placed a wrist shot high over the glove of Miller to give the team a 2-0 lead. The goal was Corvo's third of the season and was assisted by Bobby Sanguinetti and Jussi Jokinen.
Justin Peters kept the Hurricanes in the lead, making timely saves throughout the second period, including one on Thomas Vanek that is a save of the year candidate, and had a total of 22 saves through 40 minutes of play.
The Sabres got on the board 25 seconds into the third period on a goal by Cody Hodgson; the goal was Hodgson's ninth of the season and was assisted by Pominville and Vanek. The Hurricanes regained a two goal lead a mere 50 seconds later on a gal from forward Jussi Jokinen. Aggressive forechecking led to captain Eric Staal circling the puck behind the net and feeding it to the center and finding Jokinen wide-open in the slot for his fifth of the season. The goal was assisted by Eric Staal and Alexander Semin.
After the Sabres cut the defect to one on TJ Brennan's powerplay goal, his first of the season, Alexander Semin put the Hurricanes back on top by two with his sixth of the season. Eric Staal kept the puck in at the blueline, then dangled with the puck until passing to Semin on the right faceoff circle. Semin then fired a snap shot under the crossbar to make the score 4-2. The goal was assisted by Eric Staal, his third assist of the game, and Tim Gleason.
The Sabres added one more goal with 35 seconds remaining after Thomas Vanek took a goaltender interference penalty; the goal was scored by Cody Hodgson and was his 10th of the season (unassisted).
The Carolina Hurricanes will look to record their fifth-straight win Thursday at home against the visiting Montreal Canadians; the puck is set to be dropped at 7:00.
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