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Sabres Fall to Hurricanes for Second Time in Eleven Days

 

 

Buffalo, which held the sixth seed in the Eastern conference just a little over a week ago, is no clinging to the eighth seed and sinking toward missing the playoffs altogether at the rate they’re going.

After a good stretch through the end of January and into February – in which they won 11 of 16 games – Buffalo has now lost six of they’re last nine and won just once on the road. Back on the 15th they were soundly defeated on they’re home ice by the Hurricanes 3-0.

A lack of intensity and desperation was evident in Carolina Thursday night as the Sabres were out skated by the Hurricanes who came back from a 1-0 deficit to tie it and ultimately steal the win and a much needed two points in the shootout.

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Patrick Kaleta scored the lone goal for Buffalo who managed to get 37 shots on goal through three periods and change but had little to show for it. Although, a lot of that could be attributed to great goaltending by cam Ward who made 36 saves.

Anton Babchuk tied it in the third period with a slap shot from the face off circle.

The shootout was dominated by both goalies. Patrick Lalime, filling in for the injured Ryan Miller, made 31 saves in the game and stopped two of Carolina’s three shooters but that was the difference as Jussi Jokinen was able to slip a wrist shot past him and score the only goal of the shootout.

Ales Kotalik and Tim Connolly each tried to score on the backhand but were stoned by Ward. Pominville nearly tied it – hitting the goal post but was unable to put it in the net.

One thing Buffalo did well in the game was kill off the penalty – they managed to kill off all six Carolina power plays, while the Sabres had just one power play opportunity themselves.

Injuries have been one of the underlying factors in Buffalo’s recent slump – most notably Thomas Vanek – they’re top goal scorer – and Ryan Miller who has been one of the best goalies in the league for the past few years and the saving grace for an otherwise pedestrian Sabres defense.

They may be even more shorthanded as defenseman Jaroslav Spacek left the game in the third period with an upper-body injury.

Buffalo now drops to 5-7 in the month of February after going 9-4 in January. They figure to end the month on a good note as they take on the New York Islanders Saturday.

 

 

Erich Straub
ProHockey-fans.com Buffalo Sabres Correspondent

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