- Associated Press - Saturday, December 23, 2017

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Justin Faulk has been searching for his scoring touch for a while, so Saturday night was pretty sweet.

Faulk scored two goals and Teuvo Teravainen had three assists, leading the Carolina Hurricanes to a 4-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres.

The 25-year-old Faulk had at least 15 goals in each of the previous three seasons. But the defenseman had no goals and five assists in his previous 24 games before busting out against lowly Buffalo.

“There’s a stat sheet over there. You know where you’re at, and you don’t prefer it,” Faulk said. “But sometimes it’s the way it goes, and you’ve got to find a way out of it.”

Faulk scored both of his goals in the second, helping Carolina to a 4-1 lead. It was his first multigoal game since March 27.

“He’s a guy that has a big shot,” said Cam Ward, who had 20 saves for the Hurricanes. “It’s probably been pressing on him that he’s only had one up until tonight. But it wasn’t for a lack of chances. I thought he was in his right spot on the power play to unload those big shots. And when he can get them through and on the net, they’re difficult to stop.”

Carolina has won five of its last six games and has points in seven of the past nine. Sebastian Aho and Jordan Staal also scored for the Hurricanes.

Nathan Beaulieu and Zemgus Girgensons scored for Buffalo, and Jack Eichel had two assists. The Sabres have allowed four or more goals in regulation 16 times this season.

Aho got his eighth of the season 33 seconds into the first. It was third time in franchise history that Carolina scored an opening-minute goal in consecutive games.

With the Hurricanes enjoying a 5-on-3 power play, Staal made it 2-0 at 1:53 of the second. Beaulieu responded with his first of the season, but Teravainen helped set up Faulk to make it 3-1 at 4:35.

Carolina outshot Buffalo 16-6 in the second period and 38-22 overall. Ward improved 7-0-1 in his last eight starts and 8-2-1 overall.

Chad Johnson made 34 saves for Buffalo, which lost 45 of 60 face-offs.

“When you start without possession, especially on the road, it makes it difficult,” Buffalo coach Phil Housley said.

NOTES: Ryan O’Reilly, Buffalo’s third-leading scorer, missed the game to travel back to Buffalo for the birth of his son, Housley said. … Buffalo is 2-15-2 when its opponent scores first. … The Hurricanes are 14-3-2 when scoring first.

UP NEXT

Sabres: At New York Islanders on Wednesday.

Hurricanes: Host Montreal on Wednesday.


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