Hurricanes 4, Sabres 3
Series tied 1-1
"Yeah, I wouldn't consider that a narrow defeat by any means."
TSN's Bob McKenzie said on Sunday that the Sabres defence would be fine without both Dmitri Kalinin and Teppo Numminen, but I find it difficult to comprehend how a team wouldn't be hampered by moving from a six defencemen rotation to only using five — which is, in effect, what happened given that Doug Janik, seeing his first NHL action in two years, played only four minutes.
Numminen was averaging 22-23 minutes a game these playoffs for the Sabres, and no amount of shuffling can really make up for a guy of his talents. Brian Campbell's been great these playoffs in about 16 minutes a game, but the 22+ he played last night were far too many — especially given his modest defensive game. Buffalo has a smallish defence core anyway, and Soupy's the smallest of the bunch.
Cory Stillman and Justin Williams were two guys who played well in the Hurricanes three wins over Buffalo during the regular season (Stillman: 5 points, Williams: 3 goals), and they've started to make an impact here.
To be honest, I haven't seen as much of this series' first two games as I'd have liked, and as I'm heading out of town this weekend, I may not really get to unless it goes to Game 6 and 7.