The Sabres Earned their first loss of the young season Thursday night to the Carolina Hurricanes. It looked as if Eric Staal saved his scoring for the Sabres by knocking in his first three goals of the season to earn his 13th career hat trick. Jeff Skinner added in two more to earn Carolina's first victory of the season.
It was a 2-2 game in the second until it was short lived by Carolina. There was confusion from Cody Hodgson behind is own net as Jeff Skinner stole the puck and finished the wrap around before Jhonas Enroth could react.
While the Raleigh crowd was roaring, Eric Staal found the net, as he beat Tyler Ennis off the face off and received a pass from defensemen Jamie McBain. Staal fought of the back-checking dive from Ennis and slipped it under Enroths's pad for the goal.
Six minutes into the third, Thomas Vanek continued his MVP caliber play by feeding a no-look back hand pass right on the tape of a thriving Jason Pominiville to put it past Cam Ward to bring Buffalo within one with 14:54 left in the third.
Staal ended Buffalo’s hopes, scoring with 10:34 left and into an empty net with 1:28 to go to complete his hat trick.
Nathan Gerbe who was activated from injured reserve made a rough season debut . Mid way through he first period he dumped it into the Carolina zone only to be decked into the boarrds from behind by Drayson Bowman. He angrily joined a scrum after the hit to go after Bowman.
The penalty to Bowman was the second of three first-period power plays for Buffalo. It failed to capitalize on any, totaling just two shots with the man advantage.
Mikhail Grigorenko received extensive power-play time with the second unit, but the rookie’s main contribution was a giveaway in the slot when he decided not to shoot. It cost him as he played just two shifts in the second period.
The teams move on to Buffalo on Friday night to complete a home-and-home series at First Niagra Center.