RALEIGH (LGS) — If you were looking for inconsistent consistency from this year's Buffalo Sabres squad, you got it. The problem is that they can't make up their minds when it comes to streaks.
After beginning the season with two consecutive losses to the New York Islanders, the Sabres opened up a stretch of three wins that brought back fond memories of last season.
But now that memory has faded fast as the team is mired in their second losing streak of the season.
The Sabres look to break free against a strong team Wednesday as they take on the Carolina Hurricanes for the first time this season at the RBC Center. The face-off is at 7 p.m. between the 2006 Eastern Conference finalists.
The Sabres (3-4-0) are looking for their suddenly missing offense. After leading the league in goals-per-game, the Sabres were shutout Friday by Columbus and only produced two goals on Saturday against Montreal.
Paul Gaustad and Derek Roy scored those two goals nine seconds apart in the second period in Montreal; however, it wasn't enough as the Canadiens won 4-2.
Contributing to their lack of offensive production has been the power play's lack of capitalizing. In their latest pair of losses, the man-advantage units have combined for one goal in their last 11 attempts. Gaustad's deflection of a Tim Connolly pass was that only goal.
The problem could be fixed Wednesday as the reinvented Jaroslav Spacek could return from a shoulder injury that sidelined him for the past two defeats. Spacek was sidelined with an injured shoulder – suffered in the win against Toronto on Oct. 15 – but skated with the team in practice Tuesday.
"He's doing a lot better," coach Lindy Ruff said. "(His playing status) will depend whether we can get him in full contact or not."
Spacek travelled with the team to Raleigh but he may not play until this weekend when the Sabres face the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning in back-to-back games starting Friday.
Carolina (5-1-3) is riding high after their latest victory, a 3-1 win against Vancouver on Monday. Their strong start can be attributed directly to the play of goaltender Cam Ward, who made 19 saves Monday night.
Corey Stillman, Chad Larose and Ray Whitney scored for Carolina. Ward has been dominant this season, boasting a 5-0-2 record and a 1.83 goals-against average.
The Sabres won all four meetings between the teams last season and have won five consecutive dating back to the end of the 2005-06 season.
LGS Fun Fact of the Game
Ward may be off to one hot start, but he has historically been given fits by the Sabres. He is 0-2-1 in three regular season starts against Buffalo, with a 4.25 GAA. Also, during the playoff series in 2006, Ward was pulled from the nets twice in favor of Martin Gerber for allowing too many goals.