For the first time in his National Hockey League career, Jeff Skinner took the ice in Raleigh as a visiting hockey player.
Unfortunately for Skinner and the Sabres, the ultimate result was not what originally was desired.
The first period began with both teams almost equally going back-and-forth. Buffalo had found themselves a handful of opportunities but goaltender Curtis McElhinney was ready for the task at hand.
Carolina would find themselves getting on the scoreboard first, in what ended up being one of the more strange goal we have seen in some time.
A shot off the stick of Micheal Ferland hit Carter Hutton and instantly created a rebound but not in the direction one would expect.
The shot bounced onto the top of the net, out and behind Hutton. As the puck fell, Marco Scandella whacked at the puck and it fell into the net.
A roundabout way for Carolina to get their first goal but it goes in the books as Ferland’s 13th of the season at 10:25 of the first period.
With the first period winding down, Jeff Skinner was able to remind Carolina what they had traded away.
A Dahlin shot on goal turned into a rebound and scrum at the goal mouth. As he has done many other times this season, Skinner found the trash and cleaned up the mess.
Skinner’s 30th goal of the season, at 19:39 of the first, tied the game at one.
Per @PR_NHL: Skinner's 44 games to reach the 30-goal mark tie Rick Martin (1971-72) as the sixth-fastest Sabre to score 30:— Sabres PR (@SabresPR) January 12, 2019
Alexander Mogilny (30 GP in 1992-93)
Pat LaFontaine (31, 1991-92)
Gilbert Perreault (40, 1977-78)
Rick Martin (41, 1973-74)
Pat LaFontaine (42, 1992-93)
Carolina would not take long into the second period to take the lead back.
A nice rush in by Justin Williams, along with using Tage Thompson as a turnstile, gave himself the necessary room to put a solid shot-on-goal.
Williams lifted a puck over and past Hutton, with relative east.
Williams’ 12th goal of the season, at 4:30 of the second, lit a back-and-forth that would ignite the game.
Thirty seconds later, Jason Pominville was left alone enough to unleash a laser shot on net that blew by McElhinney. Pominville’s 10th goal of the season, at 5:00 of the second, tied things up at 2.
Just 42 seconds later, Carolina would again take the lead back.
Sebastian Aho attempted to pass the puck in front of the goal but instead, the puck caromed off the skate of Rasmus Dahlin and into the net.
Aho’s 17th of the season, at 5:42 of the second, pushed the Hurricanes to a 3-2 lead.
Minutes later, Aho found himself at the receiving end of another fluke goal.
A Micheal Ferlund shot on goal turned into a Sebastian Aho rebound. Aho spun around the net and somehow also got Carter Hutton all sorts of twisted.
As Hutton reset, Aho pushed the puck toward the net. The loose puck bounced off Hutton ever-so-slowly and it trickled through the five hole.
Aho’s 18th of the season and second of the game, at 12:27 of the second, pushed the Hurricanes lead to 4-2.
Buffalo would turn the pressure up in the third period, thanks in part to Kyle Okposo’s seventh goal of the season. Unfortunately, the late effort from the Sabres would be too little, too late though.
A 4-3 loss goes into the books but Buffalo gets the opportunity to start fresh tomorrow night at home against the red-hot Tampa Bay Lightning.
Final: Hurricanes 4, Sabres 3
Shots on Goal: Sabres 33 | Hurricanes 30
Sabres Goal Scorers: Jeff Skinner (30), Jason Pominville (10), Kyle Okposo (7)
Hurricanes Goal Scorers: Micheal Ferlund (13), Justin Williams (12), Sebastian Aho (17, 18)
Three Stars of the Game
1. Micheal Ferlund (1 G, 2 A)
2. Sebastian Aho (2 G)
3. Teuvo Teravainen (2 A)