It just wasn't Hurricanes' day

AL STRACHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:00 AM ET

RALEIGH, N.C. -- It was a frustrating afternoon for the Carolina Hurricanes.

They held a territorial advantage and had, by far, the majority of good scoring chances. But they lost 3-2 against the Buffalo Sabres yesterday in Game 1 of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference final.

It also was a frustrating afternoon for their coach, Peter Laviolette, who watched his team waste its opportunities.

"I thought our first and third periods were terrific," he said. "I don't know. The second period, we sat on our heels."

In fact, the Hurricanes started the second period with such a lethargic stretch that Laviolette seriously considered burning his timeout to burn their ear drums.

But he didn't do it, even though he felt that his team was courting disaster by its inattention to detail.

"It was what they (the Sabres) were doing a little bit," he said, "but it was what we weren't doing.

"We weren't skating out of our end through the neutral zone and establishing speed on the forecheck.

"We did that in the first. We really did it well in the third. In the second period, we were just a little bit slow to do it."

Even so, the Hurricanes generated plenty of scoring chances over the course of the game, but they squandered most of them.

"At times I think we could have shot a little more," Laviolette said.

"We had opportunities where there were some chances in front of the net, or some empty nets and it bounced the wrong way or bounced over a stick and just didn't pop our way."

The most memorable miss was a Cory Stillman opportunity with goalie Cam Ward pulled for an extra attacker.

"He has got a chance. He has got a hole," Laviolette said. "And it kind of miscues off his stick and goes wide on the short side.

"It seemed like there was a lot of that for us (yesterday)."


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