NHL Game Summary - Buffalo at Carolina
(Thursday, February 26th)
Final Score: Carolina 2, Buffalo 1 (SO)
Raleigh, NC (Sports Network) - Jussi Jokinen scored the game-winner in the shootout and give the Carolina Hurricanes a big victory, 2-1, over the Buffalo Sabres at RBC Center.
In the second round, Jokinen used a stutter-step and then snapped a wrister into the left corner of the net past Patrick Lalime.
Jason Pominville then bounced a wrister off the crossbar, but Lalime kept his team in the game with an arm save on Matt Cullen's shot.
Tim Connolly had the last chance for Buffalo and he went to the backhand, but Cam Ward made the stop for the win.
Anton Babchuk scored in regulation while Ward stopped 36 shots for the Hurricanes, who have won four of their last five games.
"He's that good," said Carolina head coach Paul Maurice about Ward. "That's our expectation of him. We're pleased and excited when a guy performs like he did tonight and clearly he had a good game that's why we have a very, very high expectation of him."
The win gives Carolina 69 points on the season and is currently tied with Buffalo for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Buffalo, though, holds the first tiebreaker as the team has played one less game than Carolina.
Patrick Kaleta scored the goal and Lalime stopped 31 shots for the Sabres, who have dropped three of four.
"I thought it was a great game both ways," said Buffalo head coach Lindy Ruff. "The first 40 the puck movement was real good, we had some good opportunities we didn't take advantage of then we got in some penalty trouble, it gave them some momentum. I thought we bounced back again in overtime and late in the third. I think everyone got their money's worth."
After a scoreless first period that saw Lalime make nine saves and Ward stop 13, Buffalo took the lead at the 12:43 mark of the second. Paul Gaustad let fly with a backhand shot from the right side that Ward stopped. However, Carolina was unable to control the rebound and Kaleta eventually buried it for his fourth goal of the season.
Carolina tied the game 7:34 into the third. Eric Staal won a fight for the puck in the left corner and sent it behind the net for Michael Ryan, who fired it out to the right point where Babchuk one-timed it past Lalime.
Buffalo plays at the New York Islanders on Saturday...Carolina has taken two of three against Buffalo this season...Carolina plays in Atlanta on Saturday...It was Ward's 10th straight start...Carolina is 3-3 in the shootout this season while Buffalo fell to 7-4...Jokinen is 21-for-39 in shootout attempts in his career.
02/26 22:37:30 ET