Hurricanes earn 1st win by beating Sabres 6-3
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — First in shots, last in goals. Despite that statistical oddity, the Carolina Hurricanes never wavered.
Instead, they did what they do best. They kept shooting, and those pucks finally started finding the net.
Eric Staal scored three goals, Jeff Skinner added two and the Hurricanes earned their first victory of the season by handing the Buffalo Sabres their first loss, 6-3 on Thursday night.
"It's going to come. We've got good enough players, good enough skill to score," Staal said. "We just need to play the right way and play a little bit more physical and aggressive one-on-one, and we did a great job tonight."
Skinner and Staal scored 9 seconds apart during Carolina's four-goal second period that also included a short-handed score by Justin Faulk.
Jordan Staal, Joni Pitkanen and Zac Dalpe each had two assists and Cam Ward made 30 saves for the Hurricanes, who entered as one of five winless teams in the NHL.
Their beefed-up offense — which added Jordan Staal and Alexander Semin during the offseason — entered averaging an NHL-best 39 shots on goal yet managed a league-fewest two goals in their first two games.
"You've just got to stick with it," Skinner said. "You've got to be tougher, I think, around their net and today we beared down a little bit more and you stick with it, you keep putting that many pucks on the net, you're going to get a bounce here or there, and one's going to go in for you."
Jason Pominville's second goal made it 4-3 with 13:54 left. Eric Staal restored Carolina's two-goal lead by firing the puck past Jhonas Enroth at 10:34.
"Good teams do" respond, Eric Staal said. "When you have opportunities that go the other way and end up in your net, you need to regroup and refocus. Good teams find a way to refocus, and we did that tonight."
Staal polished off his 13th career hat trick with an empty-netter with 1:28 left.
Cody Hodgson also scored and Thomas Vanek had two assists for the Sabres. Enroth, who had allowed one goal in two previous career starts against Carolina, stopped 32 shots and said he "wasn't in the right position (for) a couple of shots."
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