Aho, Staal help Hurricanes beat Sabres to earn playoff spot

Published 10:28 pm Thursday, April 7, 2022

By BOB SUTTON

Associated Press

RALEIGH — Sebastian Aho and Jordan Staal each scored two goals and the Carolina Hurricanes rallied from a pair of two-goal deficits to beat the Buffalo Sabres 5-3 and clinch a playoff berth Thursday night.

Aho’s go-ahead goal came with 8:21 remaining, propelling the Hurricanes to the 100-point mark (46-17-8) for the just the second time in franchise history. They have 11 games remaining.

Teuvo Teravainen also scored for the Hurricanes, while Staal’s second goal was an empty-netter with 54.3 seconds to play. Andrei Svechnikov delivered passes on both of Aho’s goals and Seth Jarvis also was credited with two assists. Antti Raanta stopped 18 for his first victory since March 26.

Tage Thompson, Alex Tuch and Victor Olofsson scored for the Sabres, who lost in regulation for the second time in last 11 games. Former Hurricanes standout Jeff Skinner set up Buffalo’s first two goals with pinpoint passes. Craig Anderson made 27 saves.

The Sabres were in their first game since they were officially eliminated from playoff contention while idle Wednesday night, stretching their postseason drought to an NHL-record 11 seasons.

Staal tied the game at 5:12 of the third period to start a three-goal period for Carolina.
Skinner’s back-handed pass from along the boards found Thompson in ideal position heading toward the net for a 1-0 lead 3:49 into the game. Buffalo struck again less than three minutes later with Skinner feeding Tuch right in front of the net.

That gave the Sabres two goals on their first two shots of the game. They were outshot 12-6 in the first period.

The Hurricanes took their turn with a nifty goal when Aho converted off Svechnikov’s pass.

That didn’t result in momentum because the Sabres had another goal 30 seconds later, with Olofsson taking Casey Mittelstadt’s pass in front of the net and beating Raanta.
Teravainen’s unassisted goal late in the second period pulled Carolina within one.
This was a rematch of Buffalo’s 4-2 win Tuesday night at home.

GOALS GUYS

The top goal scorers for both teams found the net. Aho has 33 goals after his seventh two-goal game of the season. It was his first multi-goal outing since Feb. 10 at Boston. Thompson notched his 32nd goal of the season, increasing his career-high total.

CRANK IT UP

Just three nights after playing in the NCAA men’s basketball championship game, Brady Manek of North Carolina cranked the siren as the Hurricanes took the ice prior to the game. The team often has celebrity guests handle that honor. North Carolina beat rival Duke in the Final Four semifinals before falling to Kansas in Monday night’s title game in New Orleans.

UP NEXT

Sabres: At Florida on Friday night.

Hurricanes: Host New York Islanders on Friday night.

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