Carolina raced out to a 1-0 lead on Jiri Tlusty's 11th goal of the season, redirecting a Staal shot into the Buffalo net as Ryan Miller fought to see through a Tyler Myers screen. The assist marked a milestone for Staal -- his 600th career point in the NHL.
The Hurricanes held the Sabres to just six shots during the opening period and carried their one-goal lead into the 2nd, where Joe Corvo made it a 2-0 game. With Cody Hodgson in the box for holding the stick, Corvo let one rip that found its way under the Buffalo crossbar. Moments later, Miller prevented the score from becoming 3-0, robbing Alexander Semin on a 2-on-0 Hurricanes break. The Sabres pressured 3rd string goaltender, Justin Peters, with a few quality chances toward the end of the period, but were denied each time. Buffalo's best chance to score came late in the 2nd when Peters extended his arm across the goalline, taking away an open net from Thomas Vanek.
Buffalo finally got on the board just 25 seconds into the 3rd period on Cody Hodgson's 9th. The Sabres forward stuffed a shot past Peters to pull Buffalo within a goal, but Jussi Jokinen put the Hurricanes back up by two less than a minute later. After sitting as a healthy scratch for the Sabres' last five games, T.J. Brennan picked up his first goal of the season coming on a power play bomb from the blueline. Brennan's goal came just as a 5-on-3 opportunity expired, but Jamie McBain was still in the box, snapping an 0 for 14 slide with the man advantage for Buffalo.
Carolina went back up by two goals only 1:40 later on Semin's 6th. He took a cross-zone feed from Staal and let a shot rip directly at the top of the faceoff circle, a shot that found its way to the back of the Sabres net. Buffalo made it a 4-3 game in the final minute on Hodgson's 2nd of the evening. The Sabres forward made a couple of nice moves heading into the Hurricanes zone and beat Peters cleanly. Carolina was able to hang on, however, for the victory, sending Buffalo to 9-13-2 (20 pts.).
After being held to only six shots on net in the opening period, the Sabres peppered Peters with 16 during the 2nd and 18 in the final frame, but the 3rd stringer stood tall. Buffalo is back in action on Thursday at New Jersey. Hear the call on WGR 550 and the Buffalo Sabres Radio Network.
1:21 - CAR - Jiri Tlusty (11) (Eric Staal, Alexander Semin)
12:17 - CAR - Joe Corvo (PPG) (3) (Bobby Sanguinetti, Jussi Jokinen)
10:30 - BUF - Cody Hodgson (2 min., holding the stick)
14:29 - CAR - Jiri Tlusty (2 min., slashing)
0:25 - BUF - Cody Hodgson (9) (Thomas Vanek, Jason Pominville)
1:15 - CAR - Jussi Jokinen (5) (Eric Staal, Alexander Semin)
14:33 - BUF - T.J. Brennan (PPG) (1) (Jason Pominville, Tyler Ennis)
16:13 - CAR - Alexander Semin (6) (Eric Staal, Tim Gleason)
19:25 - BUF - Cody Hodgson (SHG) (10) (Unassited)
12:30 - CAR - Jay Harrison (2 min., tripping)
13:19 - CAR - Jamie McBain (2 min., delaying game - puck over glass)
18:46 - BUF - Thomas Vanek (2 min., goalkeeper interference)
BUF - Ryan Miller (24 saves, 28 shots)
CAR - Justin Peters (37 saves, 40 shots)
BUF - 1 of 3
CAR - 1 of 3
1.) CAR - Alexander Semin (1 G, 2 A)
2.) CAR - Justin Peters (37 saves)
3.) CAR - Eric Staal (0 G, 3 A)