BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -- Goaltender Martin Gerber put the Carolina
Hurricanes back on track and the banged-up Buffalo Sabres on their
heels in the Eastern Conference finals.
Gerber, making his first start in a month, stopped 22 shots to
register his first postseason shutout and victory in a 4-0 win
Friday night that helped the Hurricanes tie the series at 2.
also scored for Carolina.
Gerber got the start after he replaced rookie Cam Ward, who was
pulled after allowing four goals on 26 shots in a 4-3 loss in Game
Gerber, who stopped all seven shots -- including three on
breakaways -- he faced on Wednesday, has not allowed a goal in 87
minutes against Buffalo. That's a big turnaround after Ward
replaced Gerber, who was pulled in Game 2 of Carolina's first-round
series against Montreal after giving up nine goals on 34 shots.
Carolina took advantage of an injury-depleted Sabres team that's
down three regular defensemen after Henrik Tallinder broke his left
(ankle) also out, Buffalo was forced to go with Jeff Jillson and
Doug Janik, who entered the game with a combined six playoff
appearances, and only two this year.
The best-of-seven series shifts to Raleigh for Game 5 on Sunday
with Game 6 back in Buffalo on Tuesday.
Carolina was the first team in the series to win by more than
one goal, and the margin of defeat was the Sabres' worst in the
playoffs since a 5-1 loss to Montreal in 1991.
Jillson had a particularly difficult outing as he was on for
three Hurricanes goals, including the opener 7 minutes in when he
turned over the puck behind his net. Carolina worked it around to
Frantisek Kaberle, whose point shot was deflected by Recchi and
then appeared to glance off Jillson's skate. The puck then dribbled
through goaltender Ryan Miller's legs.
Jillson and Janik were then outmatched on Ladd's goal 2 minutes
into the second period. Both were caught flat-footed, allowing the
rookie to drive to the net untouched and convert a rebound after
Miller stopped Doug Weight's shot from the right circle.
With Tallinder done for the playoffs and Kalinin sidelined for
at least another 10 days, the Sabres hope Numminen will be able to
return for Game 5. Numminen, out since being hurt in the first
period of Game 1 on Saturday, has taken the morning skate before
the last two games but then ruled himself out.
Carolina scored twice on its first four shots, building a 2-0
lead on Staal's power-play goal 10 minutes in.
Gerber, 38-14-6 in the regular season, then did the rest,
stopping 11 shots in the first period. He slid across the crease
and stacked his pads to foil J.P. Dumont 6 minutes in. Gerber's
best stop came when he got his glove up to snag Chris Drury's snap
shot, after the Sabres co-captain split the Hurricanes defense and
drove in on net.
Gerber then stopped Mike Grier's one-timer from the slot on a
3-on-2 rush in the second period, and foiled Jochen Hecht on
several chances in front.
Buffalo's power play fizzled, going 0-for-4 after the Sabres
converted five of 14 chances in the previous two games.Game notes
Staal has seven goals and 12 assists during his 14-game
streak, the NHL's longest in the postseason since Pavel Bure had a
point in 16 straight games for Vancouver in 1994. He's four short
of the record set by New York Islanders forward Bryan Trottier in
1981. ... Arturs Irbe registered Carolina's last road shutout, a
3-0 win at Toronto in Game 4 of the 2002 Eastern Conference finals.
... The Sabres ended a string of eight games decided by one goal,
matching the longest streak in playoff history, set by Montreal in
1989 and matched by Anaheim in 2003.