RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA (TICKER)—The Buffalo Sabres maximized their chances, relied on their special teams and leaned on their goaltender to record their first four-game winning streak of the season.
After Buffalo fell behind, 1-0, Miroslav Satan and Maxim Afinogenov scored during two-man advantages in the first period and Daniel Briere tallied in the second. The Sabres, who are tied for 26th in the league with the man advantage, have scored at least one power-play goal in seven of eight games.
“We got the job done on special teams,” Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said. “We took advantage of our 5-on-3’s. That was the game. It was really a special teams match. We took advantage of ours early and they didn’t take advantage of theirs.”
Carolina went 0-for-6 on the power play.
“It’s not quick and it’s not moving,” Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice said. “They really kept us to the outside. We had a hard time moving it and controlling it, getting any shots. Our best chance came on the first faceoff, on our very first power-play when (Radim) Vrbata hit the post, and that was probably as close as we got all night on it. I think we can expect more out of our power-play guys than that.”
“You can look at the shots and say that we got outshot badly, but if you want to look at chances, they were pretty even,” said Ruff, whose team’s previous low for shots in a period was one vs. the New York Islanders on October 10.
Campbell and Warrener were taken off the team plane Friday night for fear the roommates might have been exposed to the Severe Accute Respitory Syndrome virus (SARS). A relative of Campbell, who lives in the Toronto area and has exhibited symptoms related to the illness, visited their home earlier in the week.
“There was a real concern last night,” Buffalo defenseman Jay McKee said. “The issue was raised. The whole team, coaches included, weren’t very educated about the severity of it. But it really looks like it isn’t going to be an issue for the virus to be passed. The two of them staying back is basically precautionary.”
“Like everybody, I had concern for the guys who came in contact with the virus,” Satan added. “Once (the team) made certain calls and explained the situation, it looks like we’re going to be safe. It is a positive thing to hear.”
Brown suffered a broken ankle in Friday’s 4-1 victory over Montreal and will miss the rest of the season.
The Sabres also lost defenseman Rory Fitzpatrick, who left the game with five minutes left in the second period after taking a shot off his right knee.
“Our defense, after Rory (Fitzpatrick) went down, we basically had only four and a half on defense and we ran a lot of half shifts,” Ruff said.
Satan and Briere each added an assist for the Sabres, who have won four in a row for the first time since March 14-20, 2001. They are 11-6-2-4 following a team-record eight-game losing streak.
“We don’t have any pressure right now,” Satan said. “I don’t remember the last time we scored three power-play goals. It is definitely a nice feeling after the tough times we’ve had. Right now, it is working and it is winning us games.”
After Defauw opened the scoring midway through the first with his third goal, Satan snapped an 11-game goalless drought with 6:50 left. From the right side of the net, he tapped in Briere’s pass from the bottom of the left faceoff circle for his 25th tally.
Satan has a goal and six assists during a five-game points streak.
With 43 seconds remaining in the period, Afinogenov notched his fifth goal. Taylor Pyatt’s hard drive from the top of the slot was stopped, but Afinogenov batted the puck out of mid-air and over Weekes for a 2-1 lead.
Briere capped the scoring 34 seconds into the third, blasting a slap shot past Weekes from the right circle for his 22nd of the season.