|BUF||0||0||0||0||1 (1 - 2)||3|
|CAR||0||0||0||0||0 (0 - 3)||2|
Hurricanes Pick up a Point in Season Opener
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Both were pressed on the pros of a season-opening 3-2 shootout loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday night, but neither player was about to accept a loss. That's the standard set when you're defending Stanley Cup champions.
"You want to win every game, and it's up to the coaches to look at the video and decide what we need to work on and what we need to do better," said Cole, who gave Carolina a 2-1, second-period lead on a two-man advantage before Buffalo tied it three minutes later. "There is room for improvement. We'll try to bring a better game against New Jersey on Friday."
The Hurricanes killed off all nine penalties and got goals from Cole and Eric Staal, and Ward stopped 30 shots in his first regular-season game since winning the Conn Smythe Trophy. However, the power play failed eight of nine times with some new faces on a unit that was missing injured players Cory Stillman and Frank Kaberle and a departed Matt Cullen to the New York Rangers.
"We're not really thinking about guys who are not here," bristled Cole. "We've got guys in the room that are capable of scoring or contributing. I'm sure we'll be doing shootouts at the end of practice tomorrow."
Cole, Staal and Ray Whitney, who assisted on Carolina's two goals, all were stoned in the shootout by Buffalo's Ryan Miller.
Buffalo also blocked 28 shots on defense to frustrate the Hurricanes, who dumped the Sabres from the playoffs in the Eastern Conference finals in seven games here at the RBC Center.
"We had lots of chances," said coach Peter Laviolette. "We seem to have a hard time getting shots through - a typical game against Buffalo. They did a better job of getting in front of shots than we did."
Most of the new faces in the lineup played well for Carolina, especially defenseman Tim Gleason, who logged close to 27 minutes and matched Staal with a team-best seven shots on goal.
"He's just real steady back there," Laviolette said of Gleason. "He's solid with the puck, he's a solid defender, he's tough, he can skate, and he looked to add offense quite a few times. I think he's a guy who can play 25 minutes a night. He's going to be a real good asset for us."
The 2006 Stanley Cup banner was raised less than an hour before the shifty Staal was on the board, using a Buffalo defenseman as a screen to beat Miller on the glove side for one of his six first-period shots to tie the score at 1-1.
It was nice to see the 100-point scorer from a season ago get off to a good start.
"It's always good to get the first one out of the way," said Staal. "I was bound to get one in the net if I had six shots in the period. I'll just continue to attack the net. I'll take them any way they come."
It was also encouraging to see Ward turn in a solid effort in net after a whirlwind offseason in which he got married and was swamped with interview requests following a storybook playoff run.
"I felt good, but it always hurts a little bit when you're outshooting an opponent 11-1 and they score on the second shot, but both of their goals were kind of Plinko goals," Ward said. "You love shootouts when you win and you hate them when you lose. Right now, I hate it."
Ward said it was like having flashbacks to the home opener last season in which he was in net for a shootout win over Pittsburgh, stopping all three shots, including one against Mario Lemieux.
The Conn Smythe winner slid over to attempt to stop Daniel Briere's backhander, and appeared to have the net covered, but Buffalo's first shooter and captain was able to score through a small hole.
"I felt like I played him really tight and I was moving with him," Ward said. "That just shows you what kind of player he is. He didn't have much room and he was able to slip it in."
Late in the first period, the Canes killed off a two-man advantage for Buffalo for 44 seconds, getting some nice work from Gleason and - of course - captain Rod Brind'Amour. Carolina killed off another lengthy two-man disadvantage in the third period, but couldn't pull out the two points in regulation or overtime.
"We did a good job 5-on-3," Laviolette said. "And I liked Staal's line."
And all the guys liked the flashy, pre-game banner-raising ceremonies, which are over for now.
"It was a special night," said Ward. "But it's time to turn the page. This was a new game, a new season."
David Droschak is the former sports editor for the North Carolina bureaus of the Associated Press, the largest news-gathering organization in the world. In 2003, Droschak was named the North Carolina Sportswriter of the Year. The only writer in the Triangle to have covered the Carolina Hurricanes every season since the organization moved to North Carolina, he currently is a principal in the Raleigh-based public relations firm Hughes-Droschak Communications.
|Dmitri Kalinin (1) ASST: Teppo Numminen (1), Jiri Novotny (1)|
1 - 0 BUF
|Eric Staal (1) ASST: Ray Whitney (1), Cam Ward (1)|
1 - 1 Tie
|PPG - Erik Cole (1) ASST: Ray Whitney (2), Justin Williams (1)|
2 - 1 CAR
|Chris Drury (1) ASST: Derek Roy (1), Henrik Tallinder (1)|
2 - 2 Tie
|1||R. Whitney||D. Briere||0 - 1|
|2||E. Staal||T. Vanek||0 - 1|
|3||E. Cole||0 - 1|
|Daniel Briere Holding the stick against Kevyn Adams|
|Toni Lydman Hi-sticking against Erik Cole|
|Paul Gaustad Holding against Rod Brind'Amour|
|Erik Cole Holding the stick against Dmitri Kalinin|
|Glen Wesley Interference against Chris Drury|
|Jiri Novotny Interference against Erik Cole|
|Paul Gaustad Boarding against Tim Gleason|
|Erik Cole Roughing against Paul Gaustad|
|Glen Wesley Holding against Maxim Afinogenov|
|Mike Commodore Holding against Jochen Hecht|
|Ales Kotalik Holding the stick against Trevor Letowski|
|Adam Mair Unsportsmanlike conduct|
|Henrik Tallinder Holding against Eric Staal|
|Cam Ward Hooking against Maxim Afinogenov|
|Daniel Briere Holding against Kevyn Adams|
|Derek Roy Interference on goalkeeper against Cam Ward|
|Eric Staal Tripping against Paul Gaustad|
|David Tanabe Holding against Thomas Vanek|
|Mike Commodore Slashing against Chris Drury|
|Niclas Wallin Interference against Paul Gaustad|
|SA: 34||TOI: 65:00|
|Saves: 32||EV: 23 - 24|
|PIM: 0||PP: 6 - 7|
|SV%: .941||SH: 3 - 3|
|SA: 32||TOI: 64:55|
|Saves: 30||EV: 20 - 22|
|PIM: 2||PP: 7 - 7|
|SV%: .938||SH: 3 - 3|