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(Thursday, January 24th)
Final Score: Carolina 6, Buffalo 3
Raleigh, NC (Sports Network) - Eric Staal recorded his 13th career hat trick and Jeff Skinner added two more goals, as the Carolina Hurricanes doubled up the Buffalo Sabres, 6-3, at PNC Arena.
Justin Faulk added a short-handed goal in Carolina's first win after dropping its first two contests by a combined 9-2 margin. Cam Ward made 30 saves to pick up the victory.
Jason Pominville netted two goals for the Sabres, while Jhonas Enroth, starting in place of Ryan Miller, gave up five goals on 37 shots.
Miller was between the pipes in Buffalo's first two wins of the season and will likely be in net in the back end of this home-and-home set on Friday.
"It's good we have a short time in between games so we have a chance to make up for today," Sabres defenseman Christian Ehrhoff said.
Carolina scored twice in the first 4:06 of the second period after five combined power plays failed to produce a goal in opening frame.
The first score came just 62 seconds in when Skinner top-shelfed a backhand into the right corner. The Sabres started their fourth power play two minutes later, but it was Jordan Staal who created an odd-man rush the other way with a poke check. Faulk skated with the puck up the right side and took a slap shot from the right circle that trickled under Enroth's pads.
At the 8:50 mark, Buffalo's Cody Hodgson scored for the third time in as many games when he cleaned up a rebound in front, and Pominville redirected an Ehrhoff point shot to tie things just 1:49 later.
The Hurricanes responded with two goals in a nine-second span to regain control. A turnover behind the net ended with a Skinner wraparound goal at 13:56, and a Jamie McBain stretch pass off a faceoff win led Eric Staal into the offensive end, where we backhanded in his first goal of the year.
Pominville one-timed a pretty backhand feed from Thomas Vanek to cut the deficit to 4-3 six minutes into the third period, but that was as close as Buffalo got.
Joni Pitkanen, after creating a turnover, slid a cross-ice pass to Eric Staal for a wrister that found the back of the net at 9:26, and the captain sealed his hat trick with an empty-netter with 1:28 remaining.
"The guys were ready to play tonight," Eric Staal said. "It was a good win for us."
The Sabres have not won three in a row to begin a season since going 4-0 in 2008-09 ... Buffalo went 0-for-6 on the power play, while Carolina failed on its four chances with the man advantage ... Jordan Staal, Pitkanen and Zac Dalpe each had two assists for Carolina, while Vanek had two helpers for the Sabres.
01/25 00:43:29 ET