1 2 3 T
BUF 0 2 1 3
33 SHOTS 38
26 HITS 27
8 PIM 12
0/6 PP 0/4

Eric Staal's hat trick gives Hurricanes first win

Thursday, 01.24.2013 / 10:55 PM

Tracking the Storm Analysis

Recap (NHL.com)

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Eric Staal had a hat trick, and Jeff Skinner scored twice to lift the Carolina Hurricanes to a 6-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night at PNC Arena.

Staal capped his night with an empty-net goal, giving the Hurricanes their first win of the season.

Cam Ward made 30 saves, and Joni Pitkanen, Jordan Staal and Zac Dalpe each had two assists.

With the Hurricanes protecting a 4-3 lead in the third period, Pitkanen found Staal for a blast over the shoulder of Sabres goaltender Jhonas Enroth.

Jason Pominville had pulled Buffalo within one goal three minutes earlier when Thomas Vanek completed a beautiful give-and-go with the captain. Vanek cut to the slot before throwing a pass behind him to Pominville, who had a tap-in for his second goal of the night.

Carolina broke open a 2-2 game in the second period by scoring twice in nine seconds. The Hurricanes had scored two goals total in two losses to open the season.

Skinner gathered a loose puck behind the net and tucked it inside the right post at 13:56. Off the ensuing faceoff, Eric Staal broke free through the slot and slipped a backhander through Enroth's five-hole to give Carolina a 4-2 lead.

The Hurricanes started the second period with a purpose after the teams endured lulls through a scoreless first.

Skinner sent a backhander to the top shelf a little over one minute into the period, giving the Hurricanes their first lead of the season. Jordan Staal slipped a pass to an uncovered Skinner in front of the net. Zac Dalpe also earned an assist.

Carolina widened the lead to 2-0 when Justin Faulk found the net shorthanded. The play started when Jordan Staal broke up a diagonal pass in the Sabres offensive zone. Faulk carried the puck on a 3-on-1 and beat Enroth along the ice.

The Sabres scored a pair of goals less than two minutes apart. Cody Hodgson cut lead in half when he cleaned up a long rebound from Jordan Leopold's shot from the right point at 8:50. Moments later, Pominville tied the game from his knees -- Christian Ehrhoff fired to the slot, where Pominville reached out to redirected the puck past Ward at 10:39.

Neither team could find its offensive gear in the first period. Buffalo went 7:35 before registering a on goal and settled for six despite three full power plays. Carolina had plenty of jump in the first few shifts but managed seven first-period shots.

The teams move on to Buffalo on Friday night to complete a home-and-home series at First Niagra Center.

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