Hurricanes outlast Sabres in overtime
BUFFALO, N.Y. — After a difficult start to their longest road trip of the season, the Carolina Hurricanes are heading home on a high note.
Defenseman Jaccob Slavin scored 2:15 into overtime to lead the Hurricanes to a 5-4 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Friday night.
Slavin’s goal capped a frenetic finish that featured six goals in the third period and a hat trick for Buffalo’s Jack Eichel.
“We’ve been on the road 13 days? Wow,” Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said. “Let’s get home then.”
Although the 13-day, six-game road trip is over, the Hurricanes (13-11-7) have a short turnaround with a home game against Columbus on Saturday. The Hurricanes lost their first four games of the trip — with two of those losses coming in overtime — before back-to-back wins over Vegas and Buffalo.
As part of a wild third period that featured six goals in a span of 8:14, the Hurricanes surrendered a 4-2 lead before Slavin sealed the deal in overtime. On the game-winner, Elias Lindholm found Slavin open in the center of the ice and Slavin scored on a shot to the blocker side of Sabres goalie Chad Johnson.
“Found a way to get the win in OT, so we’ve got the two points going home after a long road trip and taking it back to Raleigh,” Slavin said. “Just tried to hit the net. Great pass from Lindy.”
The overtime goal came after Buffalo’s Evander Kane was stopped by Cam Ward on a breakaway.
Lindholm, Justin Williams, Jordan Staal and Derek Ryan also scored for Carolina (13-11-7). Ward made 37 saves.
Slavin’s game-winner overshadowed Eichel’s first career hat trick for Buffalo (8-18-7). Jake McCabe also scored for Buffalo. Johnson made 29 saves.
“I hand it to our guys to find the energy to come back and tie the game,” Sabres coach Phil Housley said. “I thought it was a great effort on their part because it easily could’ve gone in the other direction. For the most part we played a really, really good game. It’s just those little details and I continue to talk about it, our play without the puck. It’s that urgency that something bad could happen and it did.”
Eichel brought the Sabres back with two goals in 10 seconds.
The second goal by Eichel came 9:24 into the third on a wrist shot from the middle of the ice with traffic in front. Seconds later, Eichel showed tremendous patience in holding onto the puck while moving to his right, waiting for both the Carolina defense and Ward to commit. Eichel then placed a high shot into the net for his hat trick.
Eichel’s first goal came with 9:14 left in the second period. McCabe’s shot from the point was deflected and fell right to Eichel, who put home his ninth goal of the season.
“I felt good, like I had jump,” Eichel said. “I was trying to use my speed, shoot the puck and create for our team.
“There was a lot of good things but at the end of the day, we only get one point. It stings a little bit. It’s not good enough to get a point. It seems like it’s been the reoccurring theme here of late.”
The Sabres have points in five of six games after a dreadful stretch that saw them lose 11 of 12 games. However, Buffalo has also lost four of its past five games (1-1-3).
After falling behind 2-1, Carolina briefly took charge with three goals in just under four minutes.
Staal evened the score three minutes into the third by redirecting a long shot by Slavin. Ryan deflected a hard shot by defenseman Brett Pesce at 4:03, catching Johnson off guard to give the Hurricanes the lead.
Lindholm made it 4-2 on a terrific tic-tac-toe passing sequence with Ryan and Sebastian Aho on an odd-man rush.
McCabe had made it 2-1 1:20 into the third following a rebound.
Williams put the Hurricanes on the board first with 9:44 left in the second on a rebound opportunity.
NOTES: D Josh Gorges, C Jordan Nolan and D Justin Falk were scratched for the Sabres. ... D Klas Dahlbeck and RW Josh Jooris were scratched for the Hurricanes. ... D Nathan Beaulieu returned for Buffalo after missing five games with the flu. Beaulieu told reporters that he lost 10 pounds due to the illness. ... This was the 200th career NHL game for Sabres C Sam Reinhart. ... This was the second of three meetings between the Sabres and Hurricanes this year. The final meeting takes place on Dec. 23 in Carolina.