Hurricanes rally to beat Sabres 5-3
Alexander Semin had two goals and defenseman Andrej Sekera added a score at 9:50 of the third to lift the Carolina Hurricanes to a 5-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night.
Jeff Skinner also scored for the Hurricanes, who overcame three one-goal deficits. Jiri Tlusty sealed the win by scoring into an empty net with one second remaining.
Semin has six goals in his past four games and Sekera also added two assists in facing his former team for the first time since the Sabres traded him to Carolina on June 30.
Goalie Anton Khudobin stopped 26 shots to improve to 9-3 on the season.
Cody Hodgson, Tyler Ennis and Brian Flynn scored for Buffalo, which dropped to 0-3-2 in its past five games.
The Hurricanes took control by scoring twice over a 2:25 span in the third period to erase a 3-2 deficit.
Sekera scored by working the puck across the top and waiting for an opening. With teammate Riley Nash parked in front, Sekera blasted a shot that sneaked in through goalie Jhonas Enroth's legs.
The Canes tied it at 3 on Semin's second goal. It was set up by captain Eric Staal, who out-muscled Sabres defenseman Henrik Tallinder for the puck behind the Buffalo net. Staal fed a pass into the lower right circle, from where Semin sneaked a shot that beat Enroth on the short side.
Khubobin was sharp in preserving the lead. He got his left pad out to stop Ennis' low shot with 50 seconds remaining.
Carolina improved to 4-0-1 in its past five trips to Buffalo, and 8-1-2 in its past 11 meetings against the Sabres.
The Hurricanes, coming off a 3-2 win at Philadelphia, were playing on consecutive nights after their game against the Flyers on Tuesday was pushed back a day because of weather. The postponement forced the Hurricanes to push back their home game against Ottawa on Friday night to Saturday afternoon.
The Sabres, who have scored an NHL-low 89 goals, are starting to find their offense. They have scored three or more in regulation in each of their past five games for their best streak since doing that in eight straight games from March 19-April 3, 2012.
Ennis gave the Sabres a 3-2 lead by scoring 48 seconds into the third period.
Drew Stafford started the play from the right circle by ringing a shot off the near post. The puck took a wild carom and rolled into the left circle, where Ennis one-timed it in just before Khudobin could get across.
The Sabres squandered one-goal leads in each of the first two periods.
Flynn put Buffalo up 2-1 at 3:20 of the second by converting a rebound after rookie center Phil Varone's one-timer from in front was stopped by Khudobin.
Semin scored to tie it at 2 with 6:49 left in the second period by winding his way through a flat-footed Sabres defense. Starting at center, he eluded several defenders and then worked his way to the right circle, from where he snapped a shot that beat Enroth high on the far side.
A pair of giveaways led to the teams trading first-period goals.
Hodgson opened the scoring 10:15 in by blasting a shot in from the right circle on a partial break after Hurricanes defenseman Jay Harrison misplayed the puck at center.
The Sabres gave that one back 2:13 later. Buffalo defenseman Alexander Sulzer whiffed on a pass at center, leading to Skinner capping a rush up the right wing with a backhand just inside the far post.
NOTES: This was the Hurricanes first game in two trips to Buffalo this season. Carolina was in Buffalo on Jan. 7, but the game was postponed to Feb. 25 due to a blizzard. ... Earlier in the day, former Sabres goalie Marty Biron was named director of goaltending of the team's new Academy of Hockey coaching staff that will work at the under-construction HarborCenter hockey/entertainment facility being built across from the Sabres arena. Biron retired in October after three-plus seasons with the Rangers. ... Sabres C Varone made his NHL debut a day after being called up from AHL Rochester. ... Hurricanes LW Drayson Bowman returned after missing four games with a lower body injury.