Hamilton scores in OT, ‘Canes hold off Sabres’ late rally
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — The Carolina Hurricanes have put their losing streak behind them. The Buffalo Sabres can’t find a way out of theirs.
Dougie Hamilton scored in overtime to lead the Hurricanes to a 5-4 win over the Sabres on Thursday night, capping a frenetic, back-and-forth game that featured three goals in the final 6:25 of regulation.
The Hurricanes have rebounded with two wins in a row after a four-game losing streak.
“It’s big because we had that little hiccup for a week,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “It wasn’t that we were playing all that bad ... our division, you’ve got to keep winning otherwise you get kind of left in the dust.”
After Buffalo’s Johan Larsson tied it with 41 seconds left in the third period, Hamilton scored 2:32 into the extra session on a slap shot from the right circle after Ryan Dzingel drove to the net and left the puck for Hamilton.
“Honestly, the game was pretty sloppy all-around,” Hamilton said. “The third period was even sloppier, I guess, and we stuck with it, that’s the biggest thing.”
The fireworks began late in the third. Henri Jokiharju tied it at 3 with 6:25 remaining following a bad turnover by Hurricanes defenseman Brett Pesce. Jokiharju scored his second goal of the season on a low shot through Petr Mrazek’s legs.
Andrei Svechnikov restored Carolina’s lead with 3:54 remaining on the power play with a hard, high wrist shot.
Larsson then tipped Skinner’s shot from the right circle.
Svechnikov and Teuvo Teravainen each had a goal and two assists for the Hurricanes. Jordan Staal and Sebastian Aho also scored for Carolina. Mrazek made 29 saves.
Jeff Skinner had a goal and an assist for Buffalo, which has lost six in a row following a 9-2-1 start that saw them open the season at the top of the Eastern Conference. Curtis Lazar also scored, and Carter Hutton made 24 saves.
“Pretty angry. Not happy,” Skinner said. “I don’t know if too much has changed. It’s a tough league to win in. For the most part, a lot of those games, we’ve been in the majority of them. We just haven’t found a way to make the big play at the right time.”
The Sabres were clearly not pleased with the game’s officiating. Sam Reinhart received a 10-minute misconduct late in the third after receiving a high-sticking penalty that led to Carolina’s late lead. Rasmus Ristolainen got a 10-minute misconduct at the end of the game after he and Svechnikov received matching penalties; on the play in question, Svechnikov appeared to tackle Ristolainen down to the ice.
“It’s all a part of game management,” Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said. “We’re a team in growth. We’re a team in learning here and we need to focus on what we can change and not what decisions are being made by referees. During the game, it’s a waste of energy. We’ll make sure we get that better under control.”
Skinner opened the scoring 4:36 into the game following a strong forecheck in the Carolina zone. Staal evened it with 7:53 remaining in the first on his 100th goal for the Hurricanes.
Teravainen made it 2-1 on the power play with 2:43 left in the first, finishing a great assist from Svechnikov.
The Hurricanes came storming out of the gates to open the second period, quickly grabbing a 3-1 lead on Aho’s ninth.
Lazar got the Sabres back in it with 4:56 left in the second in his first game with Buffalo. The young center showcased his speed, bursting forward for a breakaway and scoring on a shot high to the blocker side.
Things won’t get any easier for the struggling Sabres. After playing a two-game series in Sweden against Tampa Bay — with only one full day of practice since returning home — Buffalo has a condensed schedule coming up with 11 games in 19 days.
“We have to continue to do what we did since the start of the season — that’s keep this picture very small as we continue to learn and grow,” Krueger said. “There’s still a lot of that going on. We need to believe in our potential as a group, which we do, and we have to work hard to get out of this kind of a momentum stretch that we have that’s working against us.”
NOTES: Sabres D Zach Bogosian joined the team in practice Wednesday for the first time since having hip surgery in the spring. Bogosian, 29, has been a veteran presence on the back line for Buffalo since arriving in a trade in 2015. ... Lazar was recalled from the AHL’s Rochester Americans with LW Marcus Johansson injured. Johansson is expected to miss at least the next three games with an upper-body injury. ... D Trevor Van Riemsdyk was scratched for Carolina. ... Johansson, D John Gilmour and D Colin Miller were scratched for Buffalo. Miller was a healthy scratch for the first time this season. ... This was the 100th career game for Sabres D Rasmus Dahlin.
Sabres: Host Ottawa on Saturday night.
Hurricanes: Play at Minnesota on Saturday.