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Hurricanes slip past Sabres

Carolina evens up Eastern final series on Whitney goals

Hurricanes slip past Sabres

Twice during the Carolina Hurricanes' electrifying second period Monday night, the Buffalo Sabres lost track of Ray Whitney in front of the net.
Whitney made them pay both times as Carolina bounced back from a Game 1 home loss to win 4-3 in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals. Game 3 will be in Buffalo on Wednesday, and the Hurricanes should be confident.
"Now we're going to have to win one on the road" to regain home-ice advantage, Whitney said.
Carolina outshot the Sabres 15-1 during the first 13 minutes of the second period, peppering Buffalo rookie goalie Ryan Miller from all angles. Whitney parked in front of the net and deflected Eric Staal's shot from the blue line past Miller for a power play goal and a 2-1 lead 6 minutes, 3 seconds into the second period.
Sabres' bad 40 minutes
Whitney struck again with his sixth goal of the playoffs in a 4-on-4 situation with 12:58 elapsed in the period. As Matt Cullen dug the puck out of the corner, Whitney faded back into the high slot away from the Buffalo defense.
Cullen fed Whitney, who one-timed a slap shot past Miller for a 3-1 lead the Hurricanes took into the second intermission.
"The first 40 minutes was the worst hockey we've played in the playoffs," said Sabres coach Lindy Ruff.
Whitney's scoring overshadowed a great night for the Carolina defensemen after Mike Commodore and Aaron Ward committed mistakes that led to Buffalo goals in Game 1.
The Hurricanes defense prevented the Sabres' patented odd-man breaks in Game 2, and Glen Wesley prevented a Buffalo goal by clearing the puck off the goal line behind goalie Cam Ward with 1:45 gone in the third period.
"We had to take responsibility of letting Cam see pucks and clearing out second and third opportunities," Wesley said. "I thought for the most part we did that."
When a replay review upheld the referee's ruling that the puck did not cross the goal line, Wesley had prevented the Sabres from cutting the deficit to one goal. Justin Williams all but finished Buffalo with a high wrist shot from just inside the blue line that handcuffed Miller and dropped behind him for a 4-1 lead with 13:02 remaining.
The re-emergence of the power play was a welcome development for the Hurricanes, who were 0-for-4 in Game 1 and 1-for-26 against Buffalo for the season with the man advantage.
Frantisek Kaberle scored the game's opening goal and Whitney the go ahead goal on the power play as Carolina went 2-for-5.
Buffalo scored three power-play goals, including one by Chris Drury on a 5-on-3 and another by Derek Roy with 2.6 seconds left to draw within a goal and make the game look closer.
"We were desperate," Wesley said. "If we didn't get a split (in Raleigh), we would have been in a very deep hole."


Updated : 2021-10-27 20:18 GMT+08:00