RALEIGH, N.C. — With one shot on net Saturday night in PNC Arena, Jeff Skinner cast away the dark cloud that had been hovering over the Buffalo Sabres for nine days.
Skinner's shot between the legs of Carolina Hurricanes goalie Curtis McElhinney in the first period prevented the Sabres from being shut out for a fourth consecutive game.
His goal wasn't enough to end their slide, though. The Sabres' skid reached seven games with a 4-2 loss to the Hurricanes. Buffalo (30-32-9) has lost 13 of its last 15 games and nine in a row to Carolina (39-25-7), which swept the season series.
Lucas Wallmark, Andrei Svechnikov, Justin Williams and Jordan Staal scored goals for the Hurricanes, who have the second-most wins and points in the NHL since Dec. 31. They received 35 saves from McElhinney.
Skinner snapped his own goalless drought at 13 games — the second-longest mark of his career — with his first-period goal to give Buffalo a 1-0 lead, and Zemgus Girgensons scored with 1:01 left in regulation. Linus Ullmark made 25 saves while making his second start in three games.
Opening salvo: Skinner's 13-game scoring drought ended when the 26-year-old winger collected a puck off the end boards, skated to the front of the net and shot the puck between McElhinney's legs for a 1-0 lead at 2:18 into the first period.
Skinner matched his previous career high for goals in a season with 37, which he previous set with the Hurricanes in 2016-17. He has four goals in three games against his former team this season.
199 minutes, 58 seconds: With the goal, the Sabres snapped a scoring drought of 199 minutes, 58 seconds after they were shut out for three consecutive games. They had not scored since Kyle Okposo's third-period goal in a 5-4 shootout loss in Chicago last Thursday.
Failing to score another goal would have made Buffalo just the sixth team in NHL history to suffer four straight shutouts. It has not been done in the expansion era since the first-year 1967-68 Oakland Seals.
Meltdown: The Hurricanes capitalized on the Sabres' inability to exit their own zone, when Jordan Martinook's wrist shot leaked through Ullmark and Wallmark was there to jam the loose puck over the goal line to tie the score, 1-1, with 6:08 left in the first period.
The Sabres failed to record a shot on goal in the final 10 minutes, 32 seconds of the first period, while the Hurricanes had nine during that span.
All alone: Svechnikov gave the Hurricanes a 2-1 lead at 1:07 into the second period when Jack Eichel left him alone in front of the net, and Teuvo Teravainen made a backdoor pass through traffic.
Trick shot: Even Williams could not believe he gave the Hurricanes a 3-1 lead at 17:09 into the second period when he took a bad-angle shot inches away from the left-wing boards and below the faceoff dot.
500: Staal recorded his 500th career NHL point with by surprising Ullmark with a spinning backhanded shot for a 4-1 lead with 4:14 left in regulation.
Lineup: Defenseman Zach Bogosian returned to the lineup after missing one game with an upper body injury, while Marco Scandella was unavailable and remains day to day with an upper body injury. Forwards Scott Wilson and Vladimir Sobotka were healthy scratches with Eichel back from a two-game suspension and Girgensons drawing back into the lineup.
Next: The Sabres will host the St. Louis Blues (37-27-7) in KeyBank Center on Sunday at 5 p.m. Buffalo is 5-6-2 on the second game of back-to-backs this season.