The Carolina Hurricanes assured themselves at least one victory on a disappointing road trip last time out and look to end it with a pair when they visit the Buffalo Sabres on Friday. The Hurricanes lost the first four contests of their six-game trek - two in overtime - before grinding out a 3-2 shootout victory at Vegas on Tuesday as Cam Ward registered his 300th career win.
Carolina hopes the victory releases some tension, but it still plays three of its next four on the road, including testing matchups with Toronto and Nashville, as it tries to climb out of the cellar in the Metropolitan Division. Carolina attempts to extend its winning streak over the Sabres to five games after posting a 3-1 victory on Nov. 18 behind a 24-save performance by Scott Darling, who likely will be back in net on Friday. Buffalo saw its four-game point streak (2-0-2) come to an end with a 2-1 loss at Philadelphia on Thursday in which it registered only 20 shots and is just 2-4-1 in the second contest of back-to-back sets this season. Ryan O’Reilly scored the lone goal for the Sabres in the loss and has recorded five points in his last five games for lowest-scoring team in the league (2.13).
TV: 7 p.m. ET, FSN Carolinas, MSG (Buffalo)
ABOUT THE HURRICANES (12-11-7): Marcus Kruger, who notched two assists in the previous meeting with Buffalo, scored one of the two goals against Vegas and defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk had the other to give him four points in his last three games. Teuvo Teravainen leads the team with 24 points while Jeff Skinner (club-best 11 goals) and Sebastian Aho have recorded 21 apiece. Jordan Staal got off to a strong start with 16 points and a plus-7 rating in his first 21 games but has managed just one point with a minus-7 mark in his last nine contests.
ABOUT THE SABRES (8-18-6): Evander Kane saw his five-game point streak end on Thursday but leads the team with 14 goals and 28 points, while Jack Eichel has recorded 24 after failing to register a shot against Philadelphia. Veteran Jason Pominville scored six goals in October but has managed just two since, with both coming in his last six contests. Buffalo’s defensemen have recorded just one goal in the first 32 games (Jake McCabe) after finishing with 17 last season and Rasmus Ristolainen leads the blue-liners with nine points.
1. The Hurricanes are 28th on the power play (15.3 percent) and the Sabres rank 30th (13.1) after leading the league last season (24.5).
2. Carolina C Victor Rask saw his three-game goal-scoring streak come to an end against Vegas.
3. Kane has recorded 134 shots - 37 more than anyone else on the team.
PREDICTION: Hurricanes 4, Sabres 2