The conditions in the Buffalo area on Friday night were far from perfect. In a way, the bad weather was a harbinger of things to come.
On a night expected to be a celebration of hope, it was the dark clouds of stormy weather and the Carolina Hurricanes that put a damper on the evening, as the Buffalo Sabres dropped a 4-3 decision in their home opener at First Niagara Center.
The Sabres jumped out to a lead twice in the first period on goals by Thomas Vanek and Derek Roy, only to have both cancelled by the Hurricanes. The damage was done after Buffalo had taken a 2-1 lead in the first, with Carolina adding two shorthanded goals, one by Brandon Sutter at the end of the first and one by Tim Brent in the second, to give the visitors the lead.
“We didn’t take care of the puck at all tonight,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. “We created a great number of opportunities, but we gave up some beauties. And all those beauties were given up because of plays we didn’t need to make. … We burned ourselves tonight.”
A late third period goal by Drew Stafford to tie the game was answered moments later by Carolina’s Jeff Skinner on a powerplay to give the ‘Canes a win.
Ryan Miller had 30 saves in the loss, while Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward made 39 stops to get the win.
- I’m gonna go ahead and say Andrej Sekera was Buffalo’s best defenseman. Tyler Myers made a great play on the Stafford goal, but ‘Rej was dynamic all night.
- The powerplay obviously had problems, as evidenced by the two shorthanded goals they allowed. But it wasn’t even bad giveaways that made them look bad. Carolina’s penalty kill just gave them nothing. The Hurricanes were collapsing into shooting lanes and the Sabres weren’t moving the puck around enough to handle it. It seemed like the point men kept trying to get that point shot from the high slot instead of working the points and getting the PK out of position. After looking good in the first two games, it was a dreadful night on special teams for Buffalo. Read the rest of this entry