Buffalo Sabres vs. Carolina Hurricanes Pick & Prediction FEBRUARY 25th 2024

The Carolina Hurricanes have faced two of the top teams in the NHL in their past two outings: the Florida Panthers and Dallas Stars.

And on Sunday evening, the Hurricanes can’t afford to let up against a lesser Sabres team in Buffalo, where Carolina will start a three-game trip.

The Hurricanes have won seven of their past eight road games and nine of 12 overall. A blemish came Saturday night, when the Stars snapped the Hurricanes’ four-game winning streak 2-1 in Raleigh, N.C.

Carolina managed only four third-period shots on goal. Sebastian Aho was the team’s lone scorer, tallying his 22nd goal of the season in the second period.

“Hopefully, we’ll regroup,” Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal said. “We have a game (Sunday), so we’ll be right back at it.”

Despite their glitzy record (34-18-5), missed chances have pilied up lately for the Hurricanes. They defeated the Florida Panthers 1-0 on Thursday night, but this two-game stretch marked just the second time this season the Hurricanes have been limited to two goals across two games.

“We had a few chances, but not a ton, that’s for sure,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “Everyone understands. It happens quick out there.”

The Sabres have won two games in a row, both on the road. Buffalo has played four consecutive games decided by one-goal margins, winning three.

“The compete was high, the pace was high, and we talked about that a lot,” Sabres coach Don Granato said. “When we have those two things, things usually work out.”

It’s a small sample size for the Sabres, but they might be catching on to something. That’s what they’re counting on as they sit in 13th place in the Eastern Conference.

“It’s getting better. We’re building an identity,” forward Kyle Okposo said. “Obviously, it’s difficult where we are, but that’s all we can do is keep trying to play a mature game.”

The Hurricanes might generate more offense if they could create more power-play opportunities. They’re a combined 2-for-12 on power plays across the past seven games, going on more than two power plays in only one of those games.

On the flip side, the Hurricanes have gone on 22 penalty kills during that same seven-game stretch.

“Hopefully, that stuff evens out, but it has been a little strange the last 10 games with how that has been going,” Brind’Amour said.

The good thing for Carolina is it has allowed just two power-play goals during that seven-game period.

“The PK pulled through for us again, really good for us and kind of kept us in the game (vs. Dallas),” Staal said.

It figures that Spencer Martin, who has a .920 save percentage in three outings since joining the Hurricanes, will get the call in goal for Carolina.

Sabres forward Jeff Skinner will try to get on track against his former team. He has just one goal and one assist in his last 11 games.

The Hurricanes have won both meetings against Buffalo this season — 3-2 in overtime on Nov. 7 and 6-2 on Dec. 2 — both on home ice. Defenseman Brady Skjei scored in both of those games for Carolina.

–Field Level Media

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