Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) -- Welcome yet again into the Ted Darling Memorial Press Box, high atop ice level at First Niagara Center. The Carolina Hurricanes have finally made it into Buffalo without issue, and meet the Buffalo Sabres tonight. These two teams were supposed to meet a pair of weeks ago, but the blizzard that descended upon WNY changed those plans.
Buffalo will have a new face in the lineup tonight, as Phil Varone was called up from Rochester yesterday and will make his NHL debut in front of the hometown fans. Jhonas Enroth is between the pipes for the blue and gold tonight as well. For more from today's morning skate, incuding a little background information on Varone, click here for Paul Hamilton's pregame primer.
Feel free to add your thoughts on the action in the thread below. I will submit my two cents in between scoring plays. Also, be sure to give myself and Brian Koziol a follow on Twitter for more: @PatWGR and @BrianWGR.
18:09 - Some good work right off the hop for Buffalo two straight games. It does not result in a goal like two nights ago, but definitely will make Anton Khudobin earn it tonight.
11:58 - There have been a couple of good shots from the slot for Buffalo, but Khudobin has been up to the task. I do not think Jhonas Enroth has had to be nearly as good this early on. We will see if Enroth is challenged by Carolina soon.
9:45 - SABRES GOAL. Cody Hodgson does not do anything special for his 11th goal of the season. The forward simply rushed into the offensive zone, down the right wing side, uncontested and let go a very good slap shot that finds the back of the net. 1-0 BUF.
7:31 - HURRICANES GOAL. There is the answer from one of the best young players in the NHL. Jeff Skinner faked out Jhonas Enroth by turning his back to the net, and then slinging a backhanded shot to the far side of the net for the goal. Skinner has some of the best hands I have seen of the young NHL talent. 1-1 tie.
2:36 - The blue and gold with a beautiful scoring chance on the penalty kill when Zemgus Girgensons had a free and clear breakaway. But the young forward got in a little too close to the net and the puck slid off of his stick and into the corner. Girgensons was in alone from the blue line on.
End of Period
BUF: 10:15 - Cody Hodgson (11) (Steve Ott)
CAR: 12:28 - Jeff Skinner (22) (unassisted)
BUF: 16:19 - Steve Ott (2 min., cross checking)
Shots on Goal
BUF - 12, CAR - 13
16:40 - SABRES GOAL. Anton Khudobin has been giving up some big rebound attempts, and it comes back to bite him. Brian Flynn was parked right at the side of the net and shoveled the puck home. Phil Varone picks up an assist in his first NHL game. 2-1 BUF.
10:45 - Nearly halfway through the middle stanza, and I would say the action level has gone down steadily as this game has gone on. Buffalo leads in shots on goal, 8-3.
6:47 - HURRICANES GOAL. It appeared that Alexander Semin's shot from just inside the offensive zone tipped off of Christian Ehrhoff's stick and over Jhonas Enroth's shoulder for the tying goal. 2-2 tie.
2:02 - Another power play for the blue and gold, let's see if they can get more offense going this time around.
End of Period
BUF: 3:20 - Brian Flynn (4) (Phil Varone, Marcus Foligno)
CAR: 13:11 - Alex Semin (11) (Andrej Sekera, Justin Faulk)
CAR: 13:23 - Alex Semin (2 min., hooking). 17:58 - Radek Dvorak (2 min., holding)
Shots on Goal
BUF - 11 (23), CAR - 8 (21)
19:12 - SABRES GOAL. Rebound control again an issue for the Hurricanes, and Tyler Ennis makes them pay. He just threw the puck at the net from a bad angle and Anton Khudobin was sprawled and could not stop the puck. Bad goal against, but good start for Buffalo. 3-2 BUF.
14:24 - Zemgus Girgensons took a bad four-minute high sticking penalty, but Carolina's power play was more inept than the blue and golds tonight. No real good chances, despite a couple of shots on goal. Still a one-goal lead for Buffalo after the penalties concluded.
10:10 - HURRICANES GOAL. Why wouldn't Andrej Sekera score the go-ahead goal for Carolina?! The ex-Sabre defenseman wired a wrister through traffic, and has given his new team a one-goal lead here in the third. 4-3 CAR.
6:24 - As Paul just pointed out on Twitter; shouldn't Carolina be the tired team here tonight? Instead, they are outshooting Buffalo 10-2 this frame. That is unacceptable by any standard.
1:14 - Enroth heads to the bench in favor of an extra attacker.
:0.8 - HURRICANES GOAL. Just to add insult to injury, Jiri Tlusty scores on the empty net. 5-3 CAR.
End of Game
Carolina 5, Buffalo 3
BUF: 0:48 - Tyler Ennis (11) (Drew Stafford, Zenon Konopka)
CAR: 7:25 - Alex Semin (12) (Eric Staal, Jiri Tlusty). 9:50 - Andrej Sekera (8) (Tuomo Ruutu, Mike Komisarek). 19:59 - Jiri Tlusty (8) ENG (Andrej Sekera)
BUF: 1:36 - Zemgus Gigrensons (4 min., high sticking). 1:36 - Steve Ott (2 min., unsportsmanlike conduct)
CAR: 1:36 - Jay Harrison (2 min., unsportsmanlike conduct)
Shots on Goal
BUF - 6 (29), CAR - 11 (33)
What is it with the Sabres and teams that are playing games in back-to-back nights?! In two of the three games the blue and gold have been outplayed by the opponent ON HOME ICE. That cannot happen if Buffalo wants to improve as a team. Jhonas Enroth has not played well in either of his last two games, but I am not going to hang much of it him this time. The team in front of him did not do their job either, so when it is a team win I will give the team credit, but this was a team loss. The Sabres will hit the road to take on the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night. The puck drops just after seven o'clock on the flagship home of the Sabres Radio Network - WGR Sports Radio 550, starting with pregame coverage at 6 p.m.