RALEIGH, N.C. — After struggling to score — and struggling to win — for two weeks, the Hurricanes were hoping a pair of games against teams within shouting distance of the NHL basement might snap them out of whatever funk might have settled into the locker room.
A swing-and-miss effort against Ottawa on Thursday prompted coach Rod Brind’Amour to publicly preach patience in his postgame remarks.
The team did not miss twice.
Playing from in front for the first time in more than a week, the Canes scored early, weathered a hard-luck moment late in the first and piled on late to skate away with a 6-2 win over the struggling Buffalo Sabres at PNC Arena on Saturday night.
And the Hurricanes did it with a lineup cobbled together from a roster battered by COVID-19, injuries and an ill-timed penalty.
While defender Ethan Bear returned from his COVID-related time off Saturday, Jordan Martinook (lower body) and Andrei Svechnikov (upper body) were scratched from the forward group and two other defenders remained in the league’s COVID-19 protocols, leaving the Canes to dress seven defenders and 11 forwards.
It didn’t seem to matter much.
Vincent Trocheck had a goal and two assists before he was tossed from the game after a 5-minute major penalty for boarding, Sebastian Aho had three assists and Teuvo Teravainen had a pair of goals to lead the way for Carolina, which recorded its 16th win and 33rd point of the season.
Here are four observations from Saturday’s game:
Playing with a lead