|BUF||1||1||0||(0 - 0)||2|
|CAR||1||1||4||(0 - 0)||6|
Passion and drive -- two things that have returned to the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Canes remained one of the hottest teams in the NHL, breaking open a tie game with four goals in the final 14:12 to beat their old nemesis – the Buffalo Sabres – 6-2 on Wednesday night to improve to 6-1-3.
The team’s point total of 15 equals that of the 2005-06 Stanley Cup champion team through 10 games. Tonight they beat a team that defeated them four times last season after knocking them off in seven games in the Eastern Conference finals.
“Each year is different and I think we were dealing with a lot of things we had to bring to work,” Coach Peter Laviolette said of last season’s disappointing campaign. “This year we’re coming to the rink as a group and it’s just a different atmosphere. There are kids in the locker room doing something they love. Again, it’s early on, but we certainly would rather start this way than the way we did last year. The guys are working hard and paying the price. These wins don’t come easy.”
After being shut down on the power play for the opening 45 minutes on five chances, Staal scored with 14:12 left when he powered his way through three Buffalo players, using his long reach, to stuff home a loose puck in the crease for a 3-2 lead. It was his team-leading seventh of the season.
Less than two minutes later, he dug a puck out of the corner on the power play and fed Jeff Hamilton, who blasted a shot from 30 feet past Ryan Miller and the rout was on.
“Eric is really hard to play against,” Hedican said. “He’s got that large reach and he’s got strong legs and when he gets that step on you it’s hard to defend him.”
The Canes added another power-play goal three minutes later and Hedican scored in the waning stages as Carolina sent Buffalo to its third straight defeat.
“I’m having fun right now,” said Hedican, who battled through injuries last season and contemplated retirement in the offseason. “I’m just enjoying being around these guys. I wanted to train hard because I knew this team was coming back this year and I wanted to contribute.
“Since training camp we’ve had that feeling of camaraderie, that same feeling we had two years ago,” added Hedican. “Does that mean we’re going to win the Cup? No, we’re just 10 games into this thing and there is a long way to go. But we’re working hard in practice and it’s carrying over into the games.”
But the Sabres rallied to tie it for the second time in the game late in the second period, this time 23 seconds into a two-man advantage in which Staal and Craig Adams were each called for a penalty on the same sequence.
“I liked what we were doing in the second period,” Laviolette said. “That puck was bouncing, just not for us. I thought we could have had a few more goals in the second period and it just didn’t happen. I maintain that if you play the game a certain way you will see the results at the end of the night. We continued into the third period with the same attack and they started to fall.”
Brind’Amour extended his team-best point streak to seven straight with a goal 38 seconds in, banging the puck into an open net after taking a centering pass from Williams.
The lead didn’t last long though as Carolina allowed Jason Pominville, who also scored Buffalo’s second goal, to walk from the corner boards to the front of the net without much resistance and he slipped the puck under Cam Ward’s left pad 2:52 into the game to tie it at 1-1.
Carolina, third in the NHL with the man advantage, couldn’t muster much against Buffalo in the first period, managing just two shots on three power plays.
NOTES: Carolina registered 30 or more shots for the ninth time in 10 games, getting 43. … The club also has at least one power play goal in nine games. … Brind’Amour’s goal was the fastest so far this season.... Ray Whitney scored 59 seconds into the game last weekend in Pittsburgh. … Niclas Wallin notched his first point of the season with the second assist on the Brind’Amour goal. … Staal played in his 182nd consecutive regular-season game, tying Bates Battaglia for the third-best streak since the Hartford Whalers relocated to North Carolina in 1997-98.
|Rod Brind'Amour (2) Backhand shot - ASST: Justin Williams (9), Niclas Wallin (1)|
1 - 0 CAR
|Jason Pominville (4) Wrist shot - ASST: Tim Connolly (8), Jochen Hecht (3)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Ray Whitney (4) Wrist shot - ASST: Rod Brind'Amour (11), Justin Williams (10)|
2 - 1 CAR
|PPG - Jason Pominville (5) Wrist shot - ASST: Derek Roy (4), Tim Connolly (9)|
2 - 2 Tie
|Eric Staal (7) Tip-in - ASST: Bret Hedican (1), Keith Aucoin (1)|
3 - 2 CAR
|PPG - Jeff Hamilton (3) Slapshot - ASST: Eric Staal (4), Matt Cullen (5)|
4 - 2 CAR
|Cory Stillman (4) Deflected shot - ASST: Mike Commodore (1), Bret Hedican (2)|
5 - 2 CAR
|Bret Hedican (2) Deflected shot - ASST: Cory Stillman (6), Eric Staal (5)|
6 - 2 CAR
|Derek Roy Holding against Rod Brind'Amour|
|Drew Stafford Holding against Rod Brind'Amour|
|Thomas Vanek Hooking against Trevor Letowski|
|Cory Stillman Hooking against Daniel Paille|
|Rod Brind'Amour Delaying Game-Puck over glass|
|Craig Adams Interference against Adam Mair|
|Eric Staal Tripping against Derek Roy|
|Andrej Sekera Holding against Cory Stillman|
|Derek Roy Slashing against Eric Staal|
|Frantisek Kaberle Holding against Tim Connolly|
|Henrik Tallinder Delaying Game-Puck over glass|
|Thomas Vanek Boarding against Justin Williams|
|Andrew Peters Hi stick - double minor against Keith Aucoin|
|Henrik Tallinder Roughing against Ryan Bayda|
|SA: 43||TOI: 59:47|
|Saves: 37||EV: 28 - 33|
|PIM: 0||PP: 9 - 10|
|SV%: .860||SH: 0 - 0|
|SA: 21||TOI: 59:56|
|Saves: 19||EV: 9 - 10|
|PIM: 0||PP: 6 - 7|
|SV%: .905||SH: 4 - 4|