The Carolina Hurricanes have suffered through a lot of frustrating games on the road this season, but their performance in their last home game may have brought them to a new level of anguish.
The Hurricanes try again to record their first road win of the season when they visit the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday.
After a demoralizing 6-4 home loss to Atlanta on Friday, Carolina might welcome a chance to get away. On the other hand, the Hurricanes have gone a franchise-record 12 road games without a win to start the season including a 3-2 loss Wednesday in Anaheim. The last NHL team to open with 13 straight winless road games or more was the 2003-04 Columbus Blue Jackets, who started 0-11-2 with one tie away from home.
After a frustrating start to 2009-10, Carolina (5-15-5) appeared to be turning things around earlier this month, earning points in five straight games Nov. 13-21 (3-0-2). Since then, however, the Hurricanes have dropped three straight.
Carolina led 4-1 at the end of the first period Friday against the Thrashers, but Manny Legace(notes) gave up five goals in the third to squander the entire lead. Rich Peverley’s(notes) tally with 6:03 remaining proved the game-winner
Unlike their last home game, the Hurricanes haven’t been in position to have to protect late leads while on the road. Of their 12 games away from home, they’ve led entering the third period only twice.
Buffalo may finally be the place where the Hurricanes can end their road futility. They had dropped five straight road games to the Sabres, but beat them 3-0 on Feb. 15 at HSBC Arena.
Buffalo (13-7-2) snapped a four-game slide of its own Friday, winning 4-2 at Philadelphia. Tim Connolly(notes) scored twice in the third period and added two assists while Ryan Miller(notes) recorded 31 saves. The Sabres hadn’t won anywhere since their last visit to Philadelphia, on Nov. 14.
“We definitely needed this one,” said Drew Stafford(notes), who had a goal and an assist. “It was a very emotional game, a very physical game. It was pretty much a war out there but we were able to pull through and get back on track.”
The four goals Friday were Buffalo’s most since a 4-1 victory over New Jersey on Oct. 28. In the 12 games in between, the Sabres managed 24 total goals.
Buffalo is 7-3-2 at home this year, but has lost its last two there.
The Sabres and Hurricanes split four meetings last season, with each winning once on the other’s home ice.