The Buffalo Sabres' defense continues to be missing in action, as the club gave up at least four goals for the fifth straight game Thursday in losing 5-3 to the Carolina Hurricanes. The loss is Buffalo's fifth straight.
The Sabres held the lead three separate times Thursday but handed it back to the Canes each time. Cody Hodgson opened the scoring, converting a turnover with a slapshot from the faceoff circle at 10:15 of the first period. But the Canes only needed two minutes to tie it on a Jeff Skinner goal; he took an Alezander Sulzer turnover at the blue line, waltzed in and beat Jhonas Enroth.
Brian Flynn gave Buffalo the lead back 3:20 into the second, coming from behind the net to bang in a Phil Varone rebound; the assist gave Varone his first NHL point in his NHL debut. The Hurricanes tied it up again 10 minutes later, with Alex Semin beating Enroth.
Tyler Ennis gave Buffalo its third lead of the game 48 seconds into the third period. Drew Stafford hit the crossbar, and the wide rebound went to Ennis, who shot it past Anton Khudobin. From that point on, though, the game belonged to Carolina, which outshot Buffalo 12-6 in the third period despite playing its third game in four nights. Semin tied the game at 7:25 – right after Buffalo killed off a double-minor. Former Sabre Andrej Sekera scored the game-winner at 9:50 on a weak slapshot from the point that fooled Enroth. Jiri Tlutsy added the final marker on an empty-netter with one second left.
"That takes a lot out of your team, especially your D," Varone said of the double-minor. "They took it to us after that."
Ennis said there should have been no excuse given Buffalo's relative rest as compared to Carolina:
"That's what makes it even more frustrating. We should have more energy."
Coach Ted Nolan once again cited his team for not executing at all times. Key mistakes such as Sulzer's giveaway and the double-minor by Zemgus Girgensons will kill a team's chances, he said:
With the goal, Ennis extended his point streak to six games (three goals, four assists). Stafford's assist on that goal gives him five points (three goals, two assists) in his last three games. Enroth finished with 28 saves. Sekera also had two assists.
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