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Skinner scores shootout winner as Canes top Sabres in pre-season play

Buffalo Sabres' Hudson Fasching is checked against the boards by Justin Falk of the Carolina Hurricanes during the second period of a pre-season NHL game on Wednesday, October 5, 2016 at the Essar Centre in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Kenneth Armstrong
October 05, 2016 - 8:00 PM

SAULT STE MARIE, Ont. - Carolina Hurricanes coach Bill Peters saw Wednesday's game as an opportunity to give the organizations' prospects a bit of action.

Some of those young players came up big in a 3-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres.

Jeff Skinner had the winner in the shootout after Roland McKeown and Elias Lindhold gave Carolina a 2-0 lead early in the game.

"Lots of kids got valuable ice time," Peters said. "They'll be playing elsewhere but that's what you want to do in the pre-season."

McKeown, a 20-year-old defenceman, scored five minutes into the game, beating Linus Ullmark stick side. The 21-year-old Lindholm made it 2-0 with a power-play goal in the second period.

McKeown had seven goals and 35 assists over 59 regular-season games for the Ontario Hockey League's Kingston Frontenacs last season. He added three goals and nine assists through nine playoff games.

Lindholm, meanwhile, played all 82 games in Carolina last year, racking up 11 goals and 28 assists.

Evander Kane cut Buffalo's deficit to 2-1 midway through the second and Justin Bailey scored shorthanded to tie the game in the third.

Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said that aside from some penalties, the final two periods and overtime were much better than the Sabres' start.

"We came out flat and they took it to us in the first period pretty hard," Bylsma said. "I liked the way we came out in the second period right from the first shift. Derek Grant and Brian Gionta had about four hits in that first shift and that's how we needed to play."

The game was played at the Essar Centre in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., the home town of Hurricanes general manager Ron Francis.

Ullmark finished the night with 28 saves for the Sabres. Eddie Lack made 20 saves for Carolina and was perfect in the shootout.

Ryan O'Reilly got into his first action of the pre-season for Buffalo after playing for Canada at the World Cup of Hockey. O'Reilly started the game on a line with Kane and Alexander Nylander but left in the first period because of a lower-body injury. He did not return.

Bylsma said the veteran forward came out of the game as a precaution. Prospect Dan Catenacci was also injured early in the game.

"Both players were precautionary," Bylsma said. "(O'Reilly) tweaked a muscle and we weren't going to push it any further. He came out to give it a try but we didn't want to take any chances."

Both teams wrap up their respective pre-season schedules on Friday night. Carolina hosts Washington and Buffalo visits Ottawa.

NOTES: Carolina's Jay McClement came out of the game with an injury prior to the third period.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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