Staal's hat trick propels Hurricanes

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 24, 2013
Eric Staal scored three goals, Jeff Skinner added two and the Carolina Hurricanes earned their first victory of the season by handing the Buffalo Sabres their first loss, 6-3 on Thursday night. Skinner and Staal scored 9 seconds apart during Carolina's four-goal second period that also included a short-handed score by Justin Faulk. Jordan Staal, Joni Pitkanen and Zac Dalpe each had two assists and Cam Ward made 30 saves for the Hurricanes, who were one of five winless teams and had two total goals in their first two games. Jason Pominville's second goal made it 4-3 with 13:54 left. Eric Staal restored Carolina's two-goal lead by firing the puck past Jhonas Enroth at 10:34. He then polished off his 13th career hat trick with an empty-netter with 1:28 left. Cody Hodgson also scored and Thomas Vanek had two assists for the Sabres. Enroth stopped 32 shots. Carolina, which beefed up its offense this offseason by adding Jordan Staal and Alexander Semin and averages an NHL-best 39 shots, had 38 shots to Buffalo's 33. The Hurricanes had a season-best 21 during their busy second period. The most dizzying sequence came when Skinner broke a 2-all tie by pushing a wraparound past Enroth's left pad with 6:04 left. The Hurricanes won the ensuing draw, and Eric Staal slipped through the Buffalo defense and beat Enroth with a backhand at 5:55 to make it 4-2 and cap a frenetic period in which the teams combined for six goals. Skinner gave Carolina its first lead of the season 62 seconds into the second with a tricky backhand over Enroth's left shoulder. Faulk then made it 2-0 with 15:54 left when he stormed down the ice on a short-handed 3-on-1 rush and blasted a slap shot by Enroth. Then it was the Sabres' turn to get the offense going. Hodgson pulled Buffalo within a goal at 11:10 by beating Ward with a backhand of a loose rebound, and Pominville tied it at 2 with 9:21 left with a redirection of Christian Ehrhoff's slap shot. NOTES: Skinner finished with his eighth career multigoal game. . The teams play again Friday night in Buffalo. . The Hurricanes' record for quickest two goals came in 1987 when Sylvain Turgeon scored twice in 6 seconds. . Buffalo didn't put a shot on goal until LW Marcus Foligno's backhand roughly 7 1/2 minutes in.
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