Tracking the Storm: Analysis
The Carolina Hurricanes did everything right in the game but score. They outshot Buffalo 34-20. They played a solid defensive game in front of Brian Boucher. They had some good looks on the power play. They just couldn’t solve Jhonas Enroth, who has now stopped 69 of 70 shots he’s seen against the Canes. “Putting the puck past the goalie wasn’t there, but everything else was,” head coach Paul Maurice said after the game. Boucher made 19 saves for the Hurricanes. The only puck that squeaked passed him came on a Buffalo power play on a puck that took a weird bounce out in front. Jason Pominville was there to pick up the loose puck in the crease. The bounces just didn’t go the Canes way tonight. “It’s unfortunate that you don’t get results every time you play a good game,” Boucher said. “Sometimes you play well and still can’t get a win. We deserved a better fate than that tonight. We played well all over.” The focus coming into tonight’s game was a team defensive effort. That succeeded in spades tonight, as Boucher saw a much lighter workload than what Cam Ward faced on Wednesday in Montreal. In that game, the Canes gave up 32 shots in two periods; they allowed 12 less in the entire game tonight. “There was a complete focus on making sure we played a good, solid, hard defensive game. And we got more offense doing it,” Maurice said. “The zero on our side tonight and the zero on our side in Montreal are two completely different games.” This could be filed under a lot, but I choose the category, “How in the world did that record hold up for so long?”: the last time the Hurricanes lost 1-0 at home was on Dec. 21, 1984. Kelly Hrudey had a 25-save shutout for the New York Islanders. Though the team did put forth a tight defensive effort, the Canes haven’t scored since the 4:36 mark of the third period vs. Philadelphia on Monday – that was a goal from Patrick Dwyer goal on the penalty shot. “Considering where we’re at and where we’ve been, to come up with an effort like this at home, you want that bounce, you want that result. And it went the other way. That’s frustrating,” Eric Staal said. Justin Faulk, called up from Charlotte yesterday, saw 22:07 of ice time, good for second-most among defensemen right behind Jay Harrison. He was poised with the puck at the point, helped generate some opportunities on the power play and nearly scored with a blistering one-timer. Maurice said before the game that Faulk would see big minutes. I’d look for that to continue on Sunday. Speaking of Sunday, that will be the true barometer of how we look back at this game. Tonight, the effort was there. The results, unfortunately, were not. If the Canes can play the same game they did tonight and find the back of the net, they should come out with a win. “When these situations happen, you can’t feel sorry for yourselves,” Staal said. “You have to regroup and go back to work tomorrow.”
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Recap (Associated Press)
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Buffalo backup Jhonas Enroth got a chance to make up for a bad game right away.
With Ryan Miller out following a concussion, Enroth got the start even after he gave up five goals two days earlier.
He atoned and then some - making 34 saves for his first shutout of the season, helping the Sabres beat the Carolina Hurricanes 1-0 Friday night.
"After a game when you play like that, you just want to get out there again," Enroth, said. "I'm happy I got the start right after that game."
Jason Pominville scored for Buffalo, which won its seventh road game.
"We've been a pretty good road team," Pominville said. "We're happy with the way we play on the road."
Carolina has lost seven of its last eight games to sink to the bottom of the Southeast Division standings and prompt speculation about the job security of coach Paul Maurice.
The Hurricanes have only scored nine goals in their last seven losses and have been shut out in back-to-back games after losing 4-0 in Montreal on Wednesday.
"The zero on our side tonight and the zero on our side against Montreal are two completely different animals," Maurice said. "We had maybe some chances in Montreal but gave up 10 to get each one we got."
Pominville extended his point streak to six games midway through the first period. With the Sabres on the power play, Pominville finished a scramble in front of Boucher by smacking a rebound into the top-right corner of the net.
Pominville has three goals and five assists during his streak.
Thomas Vanek got an assist on the play for his eighth point (three goals, five assists) in his last six games. Vanek and Pominville have combined on a goal 19 times this season.
Despite the team's struggles, Carolina general manager Jim Rutherford said Thursday he had no plans to make any major changes.
Even with the high shot attempts, Carolina had few golden scoring chances, although Enroth made a nice glove stop on Eric Staal's wrist shot early in the third period.
"I think Ehrhoff tipped that shot," Enroth said. "I was a little lucky on that save. That was a pretty good save, actually."
The Sabres, who have the third-best penalty kill in the league, did have to kill a late Carolina power play.
It was only the third time this season the Hurricanes had allowed fewer than two goals.
"That was the best all-around team game that we've played this year," Maurice said. "It's a game we hope we can replicate. They did exactly what I'd asked them to do."
Notes: Buffalo hosts Phoenix on Saturday night. The Sabres lead the NHL with 21 back-to-back games this season. ... Carolina's Anthony Stewart played after being scratched the previous three games. ... Miller was hurt Nov. 12 against Boston.