NHL Game Summary - Buffalo at Carolina
(Wednesday, October 4th)
Final Score: Buffalo 3, Carolina 2 (SO)
Raleigh, NC (Sports Network) - The Buffalo Sabres got a little revenge as Daniel Briere scored the lone shootout goal in a 3-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes in the season-opener at RBC Center.
Chris Drury and Jason Pominville scored in regulation and Ryan Miller stopped 32 shots and all three skaters in the shootout for the Sabres, who were defeated by Carolina in seven games in last season's Eastern Conference Final.
Buffalo is now 20-13-3 all time in season openers.
Erik Cole and Eric Staal scored goals and Ray Whitney added two assists for the Hurricanes, who fell to a miserable 6-16-5 in season beginners.
Conn Smythe winner Cam Ward made 30 saves and also had an assist in the game.
Carolina had the first chance in the shootout, but Whitney missed the net with his wrist shot. Briere followed with a backhander that he roofed over a sprawled-out Ward.
Staal took the next shot, but Miller made a pad save on the wrist shot. Thomas Vanek had an opportunity to seal the win for Buffalo, but Ward made a waffle board save.
Miller than completed the victory with a stick save on Cole's wrist shot.
Before the game, the Hurricanes raised their 2005-06 Stanley Cup championship banner in an elaborate ceremony on the ice for the 18,840 fans at the arena. Missing from that squad are Mark Recchi, Martin Gerber, Matt Cullen, Josef Vasicek, Aaron Ward and Doug Weight, all of whom signed with other teams in the offseason.
The Sabres spent most of the summer re-signing important pieces like Maxim Afinogenov, Briere, Tim Connolly and Miller, to name a few.
A few key pieces were lost as blueliner Jay McKee and forward J.P. Dumont both signed with other teams. But, the club took a stab at replacing McKee by acquiring Jaroslav Spacek.
Carolina had an opportunity to get on the scoreboard with a little over 12 minutes left in the first as Cole got behind the defense, but his wrist shot hit off the left post.
The Sabres took advantage a little over a minute later to score the first goal of the new season. Teppo Numminen had the disc at the right point and slid it to Dmitri Kalinin at the left point. Kalinin flicked a wrister on net that Pominville deflected in front and then it hit off the skate of a Carolina player and into the right corner of the net for a 1-0 lead.
The Hurricanes, though, tied the game with 5:18 left in the first period. Whitney sent a lead pass from the defensive zone to Staal in the neutral zone. Staal skated into the Sabres zone and from the left circle snapped a wrister under the defenders stick and over Miller's stick.
Buffalo had 44 seconds of a two-man advantage late in the first, but were unable to take advantage.
Thanks to a couple of Buffalo penalties, Carolina was able to take a 2-1 lead. Skating with a 5-on-3 advantage, Whitney had the puck in the slot, faked the shot and sent it to the right side of the net, where Cole simply redirected behind Miller with 7:19 left in the second.
Buffalo, however, tied the game less than three minutes later. Henrik Tallinder had the puck at the right point and sent it on net. Derek Roy deflected it and the disc hit off of Drury and past Ward to make it a 2-2 game.
The Sabres had an advantage early in the third period when they had 1:43 seconds of a 5-on-3 power play, but they were unable to cash in on the advantage.
Both teams had 11 shots on net in the third period.
Buffalo had a chance less than a minute into the extra session as Vanek had the puck all alone down low, but Ward made a nice kick save on the snap shot.
The Sabres have their home-opener on Friday, when they will face Montreal...The Hurricanes will stay at home and face New Jersey on Friday... Carolina won three of the four meetings with the Sabres during the 2005-06 regular season...Carolina finished the game 1-for-9 on the power play while Buffalo failed on all nine of its man-advantages.
10/04 22:33:26 ET