Aho scores late to lift Hurricanes over Sabres
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Sebastian Aho made his 100th NHL game was one to remember.
Aho scored with 4:45 remaining to lift the Carolina Hurricanes over the Buffalo Sabres 3-1 on Saturday night.
After going scoreless through the first 15 games, Aho has a goal in three straight.
“I think I’m playing the same way,” Aho said. “It’s just, you get the first one, it’s easier to get. So I think that’s just the key.”
Justin Williams scored in the second period and Joakim Nordstrom added an empty-netter. Scott Darling had 24 saves for the Hurricanes, who are 4-1-1 since losing four in a row.
“This is a good step and now we need to start getting something rolling positive in our direction,” Williams said.
Evander Kane scored for the Sabres, who have lost five straight. Chad Johnson stopped 30 shots.
“The bottom line is they took advantage of our mistakes and we didn’t take advantage of theirs,” Sabres coach Phil Housley said. “It is testing my patience.”
Aho scored on a breakaway after Buffalo’s Justin Falk lost the puck near his own blue line. Aho’s wrist shot from the right slot went over Johnson’s glove.
“Good finish,” Carolina coach Bill Peters said. “A few weeks ago, that doesn’t go in for him, and now it does.”
Williams gave Carolina a 1-0 lead with 5:14 left in the second. On an odd-man rush with Marcus Kruger, Williams stopped in the left slot, faked a pass and beat Johnson with a low wrist shot.
“I’ve been passing up a lot of opportunities lately and I almost blew that one, too,” Williams said. “Thankfully I was able to make the play.”
Nordstrom scored with 41 seconds remaining.
Kane got his 11th of the season to tie it with 7:33 remaining in the third. Ryan O’Reilly stole a pass from Haydn Fleury and fed Kane in the left slot.
Kane appeared to score again 10 seconds later off a rebound, but officials determined via replay that he kicked the puck into the net.
“I didn’t agree with it,” Kane said. “I was pretty self-conscious of not making a kicking motion and kicking the puck into the net.”
The Sabres didn’t have a shot on goal for the first 17:21 of the game. Jordan Nolan shot wide of the net on a breakaway in the opening minutes.
Darling made his best save of the night on a Sabres’ power play late in the first period when he dropped his stick and dove across the crease to catch Kyle Okposo’s backhand.
“I just shut my eyes and dove over there, so I was just happy it hit me,” Darling said. “It’s just pure desperation. Lost it, dive, hope for the best.”
NOTES: Carolina played without F Josh Jooris (soreness) but had Kruger in the lineup after he missed Thursday’s loss to the Islanders due to illness. ... Hurricanes LW Phillip Di Giuseppe was in the lineup for a second straight game after being called up from the minors. ... Buffalo activated F Evan Rodrigues on Friday and assigned him to AHL Rochester. Rodrigues had been out since Sept. 22 with a hand injury.
Hurricanes: Host the New York Islanders on Saturday.
Sabres: Host Columbus on Monday night.
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