A Carolina Hurricanes blog with occasional news about the rest of the NHL.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Canes 6, Sabres 2

Buffalo came into town tonight seeking their first road win. Carolina is looking to continue their hot play throughout October. After a tense first two stanzas, the home team got what they wanted. What follows is a period-by-period intermission update. Not liveblogging, but a distant relative.

First Period

Rod Brind'Amour scored just 38 seconds into the game with an easy goal from the left side of the net. Justin "Viva" Williams made a centering pass from the right wing through the slot. Ryan Miller looked confused, or asleep at the wheel, because when Brindy received the puck, Miller was way over on the right post with his back to Brind'Amour. He had to settle the puck a bit, but still had plenty of time to tuck it in. The early goal extends Brind'Amour's points streak to seven games. Officially, it was Brind'Amour with an even strength goal from Viva and Chad "Sharpie" LaRose at 0:38.

That woke Ryan Miller up, because he had to make a couple of dandy stops on Cory Stillman and Jeff Hamilton later in the period.

At 2:52, Jason Pominville netted a good-looking goal to even the score. Tim Connolly made a nice play down in the corner to fend of Tim Gleason, then hit Pominville with a pass near the right circle. J-Pom made a few fancy moves, then buried it from close range. Jochen Hecht picked up the secondary assist on the even strength goal.

Carolina was awarded three consecutive power plays, but they couldn't create much pressure, nor could they even keep the puck in Buffalo's zone. This is in stark contrast to Monday night, when Carolina spent the entire first period in the Canucks zone. Credit Buffalo for shutting it down.

The first period ended with Buffalo enjoying their first man-advantage, which will spill over to the second period.

No liveblogging here, but I'll update again at the second intermission.

Damn blogger. I had written a second period summary, but it got wiped away somehow.

Second Period
Ray Whitney scored a dandy goal at 3:15 on a quick shot after Viva and Brind'Amour worked the puck behind the Sabres' net. The shot was so quick that I didn't see it live, but it was sweet. Officially, "The Wizard" from Brind'Amour and Viva at 3:15.

Carolina committed two penalties on the same play to give the Sabres two minutes of five on three, and they wasted no time. Derek Roy slid a pass from the right wing across the crease to Jason Pominville, who easily beat Ward for his second goal of the night. Ward committed too much to his own left side, and couldn't slide over in time to challenge J-Pom. Pominville from Derek Roy and Tim Connolly on the power play at 15:32 of the second.

The second period ended with Carolina on the power play, which will carry over for the first 1:31 of the third.

So far, Brind'Amour (1/1), Williams(0/2), Connolly (0/2) and Pominville (2/0) all have two points. Who will emerge as the game's first star? Find out in 35 minutes.
Third Period


Carolina simply dominated the final frame, and ran away with a 6-2 win.

Eric Staal opened the third frame scoring on a very odd play. Bret Hedican launched a shot from the right point that went off Miller, off a defenseman, trickled to the left post, and Staal tucked it in. There was some contact with Miller, but it was allowed to go. Officially, Staal from Hedican and Keith Aucoin even strength at 5:48. That was Aucoin's first point this season since being called up to replace Erik Cole on Monday.

Carolina was given its sixth power play opportunity by virtue of a delay of game call, and they finally got past the Sabres' penalty killers. Jeff Hamilton launched a howitzer from the top of the right circle. Officially, Hamilton from Staal and Matt Cullen on the power play at 7:40.

At 10:44, there was another strange goal. Carolina was moving the puck around on the power play, spreading the ice. From a sharp angle at the bottom of the left circle, Mike Commodore fired a shot that found its way into the net. First it was credited to Cory Stillman, who was on top of the goal crease. Later, it was determined that the puck last touched Toni Lydman's stick. Still later, it was given back to Commodore. At this point, it stands as a Stillman goal assisted by Commodore and Hedican. The goal occurred exactly as a penalty to Tomas Vanek expired, so it is officially an even strength goal. At some point, the scoring should go to Commodore from Hedican and Ray Whitney. Quote me on that.

Bret Hedican continued his torrid third period by angling one in off the body of Andrej Sekera. Cory Stillman and Eric Staal got the helpers on the even strength goal.

There was, as expected, a little chippiness. However, it wasn't in the form of fights. There were none of those. As the Hurricanes scored goal after goal in the third, the Sabres got frustrated and committed some uncharacteristic penalties.

After having a breakaway chance denied by Frantisek Kaberle and Bret Hedican, Tomas Vanek went a little hard at Keith Aucoin along the boards, drawing a boarding penalty. This led to the "Stillman" goal.

Later, as time was winding down, Henrik Tallinder was called for roughing Ryan Bayda, bringing his hands and stick to Bayda's face. It wasn't cross-checking (which would probably draw a multi-game suspension), but it was awfully close. Not typical of his play, and there was no injury, so there won't be any argument over here. I'm sure it was just frustration getting the better of him.

Carolina definitely got some bounces in the third and decisive period, but they brought their A game to the final frame, putting 16 shots on goal for a game total of 42. Buffalo was called for four consecutive penalties (five, if you count the double minor high stick), but none of them were questionable. Carolina just won the period, and the game.

I didn't see how the FSS crew doled out the stars, but the "official" stars went to Eric Staal (third), Jeff Hamilton (second) and Bret Hedican (first). I have it a little different. The RBH three stars:
THIRD STAR Jason Pominville, BUF --- 2 goals
SECOND STAR Bret Hedican, CAR --- 1 goal, 2 assists
FIRST STAR Eric Staal, CAR --- GWG, 2 assists

Credit should be given to the Sabres PK units. They killed eight of nine Carolina power plays. Of course, they committed too many penalties, which put them in the spot of having to kill more than 16 minutes of power play, but they were pretty darn good.

Ryan Miller faced 42 shots. Twice as many as Cam Ward faced. The Sabres can't be happy about that, but he did a good job to keep it as close as it was.

Carolina's three game home stand closes on Friday with the Canadiens making a return visit. The dads are already in town, and they'll be joining the team as they go on the road over the weekend. For the first time, the moms are also taking part in the annual father/son weekend. According to everything in the N&O and everything that John and Tripp say, Bob Brind'Amour is a hoot. They all have a great time on the weekend, and I hope this is a tradition that becomes permanent.

Look for a write-up about Jeff Hamilton later. Maybe early next week, but hopefully tomorrow.

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