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Staal, Skinner Leads Canes Over Sabres

The goals finally came for the Carolina Hurricanes last night. After two disappointing offensive performances to open the season, the Canes exploded for 6 goals against the Buffalo Sabres for their first points and first win of the 2013 campaign. Captain Eric Staal hit an empty net to cap the 13th hat trick of his career and solidify the win on an exciting night of hockey. Jeff Skinner added a pair of goals and young defensemen Justin Faulk scored the team’s first short-handed goal of the season en route to a 6-3 win over the previously unbeaten Sabres.

The difference on this night was the pressure that the Hurricanes were able to keep in their own offensive zone. They forced turnovers on aggressive forechecks, and they were able to turn those mistakes into scoring opportunities on a regular basis. Goaltender Cam Ward also looked more like his normal self, as he made 30 saves for his first win. ”It’s going to come. We’ve got good enough players, good enough skill to score,” E. Staal said. ”We just need to play the right way and play a little bit more physical and aggressive one-on-one, and we did a great job tonight.”

The Canes jumped out to a 2 goal lead in the second period but Buffalo answered right back with two goals of their own by Cody Hodgson and Jason Pominville. Then, with time winding down in the second, Skinner and Staal scored 9 seconds apart to cap a 6 goal period. Pominville got his second of the night from a magnificent feed from Thomas Vanek early in the third period, but the captain of the Canes wouldn’t be stopped on this night. He turned a Joni Pitkanen steal into his second game of the goal, and got his 3rd on the empty netter. Pitkanen, Jordan Staal, and Zac Dalpe all finished the game with 2 assists.

Staal, Skinner Leads Canes Over Sabres
RALEIGH, NC – JANUARY 24: Jeff Skinner #53 of the Carolina Hurricanes celebrates after scoring a second-period goal against the Buffalo Sabres at PNC Arena on January 24, 2013 in Raleigh, North Carolina.
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

This game had plenty of physicality; something that head coach Kirk Muller said the Canes would need more of to be perennial competitors in the Eastern conference.

The Hurricanes have a short turnaround, as they traveled to Buffalo immediately following their win. They will play the Sabres tonight in the second half of a home-and-home and the Canes should expect this game to be much tougher on the road. With mixed results in the first 3 games of the season, the Hurricanes would like to see more of the effort that they got last night from here on out.

 

 

Andrew Williams
I'm a 25 year old Raleigh, NC native who is extremely passionate about Carolina Hurricanes hockey (believe it or not, we exist!). I've been a fan of hockey for around 10 years now and love everything about the game. I play roller hockey in my spare time, and am pretty knowledgeable about the game. Check out my personal website for any extra info on the Canes or other NC sports at www.ncsportsbuzz.com.
Andrew Williams

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