RALEIGH — The effort was there. The fight was there. The defense was there, and the goaltending.
But not goals. The Carolina Hurricanes could not score goals Friday against the Buffalo Sabres and goaltender Jhonas Enroth.
Jason Pominville scored on a first-period power play, and the Sabres made it stand up for a 1-0 victory at the RBC Center.
That's three straight losses for the Hurricanes (6-11-3), who now have dropped seven of the past eight. After a 4-0 beating Wednesday by the Montreal Canadiens, the Canes again failed to find the back of the net.
"Putting the puck past the goalie wasn't there but everything else was," Canes coach Paul Maurice said. "That was the best overall team game we've played this year, and it's a game we hope we can replicate."
Other than losing, that is. The Canes had 34 shots, another 21 attempts that were blocked and 21 that missed the net. The offensive chances were there, especially in the second and third periods.
But so was Enroth, who had 34 saves for his second career shutout. With Brian Boucher making his fourth start in net for the Canes and giving his team a strong effort, Enroth had to be ultra-sharp and he was.
"The zero on our side tonight and the zero on our side in Montreal are two completely different animals," Maurice said.
It was the Hurricanes' first 1-0 loss ever in the RBC Center and the first 1-0 loss at home for the franchise since Dec. 21, 1984, when the then-Hartford Whalers lost to the New York Islanders.
Pominville's score at 13:04 of the first, coming after a Jussi Jokinen slashing penalty, was an ugly goal. The puck glanced off Canes defenseman Tim Gleason and Pominville jumped in to whack at the loose puck and get it past Boucher.
"It was kind of a bad break," Boucher said. "I think the guy was just throwing it in front ... and it went off our guy. I thought it went in initially after it hit (Gleason) and it hit me in the toe. Then the guy was there.
"Those are the breaks. That's the way it goes sometimes."
It hasn't gone that way for the Canes of late. Carolina had 25 shots in five-on-five play to the Sabres' 16. The Canes went 0-for-3 on the power play -- they're scoreless in their last 22 -- as rookie defenseman Justin Faulk banged a shot off the crossbar on a second-period power play.
"There was a complete focus on making sure we played a good, solid, hard defensive game, and we got more offense doing it.," Maurice said.
The Canes' last power play came after Sabres defensman Christian Ehrhoff was called for holding with 4:21 left in the third. Defensemen Tomas Kaberle, Jamie McBain and Jay Harrison all got off shots but Enroth made the stops.
Maurice decided to give goalie Cam Ward a rest and start Boucher. He also inserted Faulk, who was recalled Thursday from the Charlotte Checkers of the AHL, into the lineup.
Faulk, 19, had more than 22 minutes of ice time in his fourth NHL game. He made some heady plays in the defensive zone and was used both on the power play and the penalty kill.
"We were aggressive and I think five-on-five we generated more than they did," Canes captain Eric Staal said. "Didn't score, but played hard, fought hard.
"I think everyone had a single thought in their head when they're over the boards and that was play hard, play smart and keep the puck out of our net. And for the most part, besides that lucky bounce they got on the power play, we did a pretty good job of that."
But as Staal quickly noted, when you play that kind of game, a team likes to be rewarded for it.
"It didn't happen," he said.