Ales Kotalik, Taylor Pyatt and Chris Taylor scored for Buffalo,
which is unbeaten in its last two games following a seven-game
skid. The Sabres won for the first time since Dec. 3 against
"It's a big relief," said Noronen, who improved to 4-1
lifetime against Carolina. "Hopefully, we can keep it going."
Sean Hill scored for Carolina, which is 2-2 under coach Peter
Laviolette, who took over after Paul Maurice was fired on Dec. 15.
The Hurricanes, the lowest-scoring team in the NHL, managed a
season-low two shots on goal in the first period.
"The first period was tough to stomach," Laviolette said. "I
don't think we can win many hockey games if we play like that. The
first period was unacceptable, by all measures."
For Buffalo, which tied Ottawa 2-2 on Tuesday, the Christmas
break couldn't have come at a better time. After enduring a 3-8-1
stretch, the Sabres gave one of their best efforts of the season
Friday following the rest.
"We had a couple days off to forget about hockey and get a
fresh start," Noronen said. "We were able to get our minds off
Carolina goaltender Kevin Weekes helped keep the game scoreless
through two periods thanks in part to a save in the second period
on Daniel Briere, who broke in alone from the Carolina blue line.
After faking a move to the left, Briere brought the puck to the
right and tried to slide it under Weekes, who made a pad save.
"(Buffalo) did a lot of gritty things," Weekes said. "You
have to give them credit. It's not an easy game to play when
everybody doesn't want to commit."
Kotalik scored on the power play at 3:09 of the third period,
breaking an 0-for-17 drought for the Sabres with the man advantage.
Pyatt, who hadn't scored in 10 games, made it 2-0 with 7:46 left
in the third. Standing in front of the net, he slammed home a
rebound of Miroslav Satan's shot from the right point.
"That's where I have to play my game," the 6-foot-4 forward
said. "That's what I'm concentrating on."
The Hurricanes have scored one goal or less in 18 of their 34
"The offense is a frustrating thing," Laviolette said. "We're
still dealing with things that are hurting us."
Noronen was the main problem Friday, making save after save over
the final two periods when the Hurricanes outshot Buffalo 29-25.
"It's easier if you face more shots, but we had a lot of
blocked shots, too," Noronen said. "In the second they got more
shots and got me in the game. That was key."
It wasn't all good news for the Sabres, who lost leading scorer
J.P. Dumont to a hip pointer with 12:15 left in the first period.
After a faceoff in the Carolina zone, Dumont was hooked in the
midsection and twisted around by Carolina defenseman Aaron Ward.
Dumont, who has 11 goals and 25 points, fell on his stomach and was
unable to pick himself up without help. He left the ice writhing in
pain and could not put any pressure on his right leg.
Dumont is expected to miss more than a week, but should not have
to undergo surgery.
"It actually happened the shift before," Dumont said. "I went
for a rebound and fell on my hip. I thought it was just a bruise.
After the faceoff, I tried to go around the guy and I felt it pull
again. It was very painful."
Taylor added an empty-net goal for the Sabres with 33.2 seconds
remaining after Hill scored his first goal at 14:22 of the third
Weekes finished with 30 saves.
Carolina D Glen Wesley played in his 1,200th NHL game. ...
The teams left the ice with 36.5 seconds left in the first period
after a hole was discovered in the dasher boards in front of the
penalty box. The time was tacked on to the beginning of the second.
... Buffalo played its third game without injured C Chris Drury,
who has a separated shoulder. ... Following the game, the Sabres
called up forward Jason Pominville from their AHL affiliate in
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Arena: First Niagara Center Location: Buffalo, New York
Referees: Craig Spada Linesmen: Brad Kovachik, Mark Shewchyk
Attendance: 18,690 (100.0% full)
Team Stat Comparison
Power Play Goals
Power Play Opportunities
Shots on Goal
No scoring this period
No scoring this period
Ales Kotalik (9)
(Power Play) Assists: Dmitri Kalinin, Alexei Zhitnik
Taylor Pyatt (8)
Assists: Miroslav Satan, Dennis Wideman
Sean Hill (1)
Assists: Glen Wesley, Eric Staal
Chris Taylor (2)
(Empty Net) Assists: Curtis Brown, Alexei Zhitnik