In our fourth installment of the Season Outlook, we’ll check out the Carolina Hurricanes, who the Buffalo Sabres will face three times during the upcoming NHL season after also facing them three times during the recent lockout-shortened season.
The Buffalo Sabres will face the Carolina Hurricanes three times this upcoming year, but the teams won’t meet until 2014, with their first game coming in Buffalo on January 7. They’ll meet again in Buffalo sixteen days later, then cap off the year in Carolina on March 13.
One big storyline here: the addition of Nathan Gerbe to the Carolina Hurricanes roster after he was unexpectedly bought out by the Buffalo Sabres. Gerbe may not have been the top scorer on the Sabres, but he certainly brought a lot of heart to the team and was well-known for his charity and community involvement off the ice as well. In 188 career NHL games (all with the Sabres), Gerbe scored 29 goals and 43 assists.
It’ll be interesting to see what a change of scenery in Carolina does for him, assuming he plays in the NHL next year.
Gerbe joins former Buffalo Sabres defenseman Andrej Sekera on the Hurricanes roster. Sekera was acquired via trade, with the Sabres getting back a 2nd-rounder (which would end up being J.T. Compher) and defenseman Jamie McBain, who will have to compete for a spot on the blueline in Buffalo – something Sekera was all-too-familiar with.
Aside from Gerbe, the Hurricanes made several other free agent signings that could be intriguing. Goaltender Anton Khudobin, defenseman Mike Komisarek and forward Aaron Palushaj are all new additions to the Hurricanes roster this coming season.
Palushaj was pointless in three career games against Buffalo so far, but Khudobin has gone 2-1-1 in four games against the Sabres in his career, with a 1.73 GAA and .936 save percentage in those games. Komisarek has just two points in 43 career games against Buffalo, but his physical presence is one of note for Sabres fans.
The Buffalo Sabres and Carolina Hurricanes met three times last season, with the Hurricanes taking all three games and outscoring the Sabres, 13-7.
Players to Watch:
- CAROLINA: Eric Staal, Eric Staal, and…. Eric Staal. In three games against the Sabres last season, Eric had three goals, four assists and 11 shots. He has 34 points in 35 career games versus Buffalo, so he’s definitely a dangerous one. Also check out his brother, Jordan, who had six shots and three assists in the three games last season. He has 17 points in 24 career games against the Sabres.
- BUFFALO: Cody Hodgson had three goals against Carolina last season, including a two-goal game on March 5. Prior to coming to Buffalo, he hadn’t seen much of Carolina, but he’s put up 20 shots in five career games against them and has three goals (all scored last year) against the Hurricanes. Thomas Vanek had a goal and three assists last year against Carolina, while Christian Ehrhoff had a pair of assists.
Meetings This Season:
- January 7 @ BUF
- January 23 @ BUF
- March 13 @ CAR