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Ward lifts Hurricanes over Sabres

Jan 7, 2012 - 6:01 AM
Raleigh, NC (Sports Network) - Cam Ward had 31 saves and the Carolina Hurricanes scored three goals in the third period Friday night to beat the Buffalo Sabres, 4-2, and snap a two-game losing streak.

Eric Staal led the way with three points, but Chad LaRose scored the go-ahead goal 8:10 into the third period after Jason Pominville had tied it for Buffalo less than two minutes earlier.

Staal, Justin Faulk and Brandon Sutter scored the other goals for Carolina, which entered play with an Eastern Conference-worst 33 points.

Thomas Vanek had a goal for Buffalo and Ryan Miller gave up three goals on 34 shots in the loss.

The Sabres, who were coming off a 4-3 win over Edmonton on Tuesday, have dropped nine of their last 12. They haven't won back-to-back games since capturing four in a row from November 4-11.

"I don't want to stand here and talk about grade-A scoring chances because we probably had our highest total for the whole year and we walked out of there with two goals," said Buffalo head coach Lindy Ruff.

"It's frustrating."

Staal was behind the net when he broke a 1-1 tie just 71 seconds into the third period, sending the puck back toward the right post and watching from behind as it was knocked in.

Pominville's goal was also sort of a fluke. He corralled a bouncing puck to Ward's right and flipped it on net, somehow getting it to squeak through.

But LaRose made it 3-2, keeping the puck himself on a rush and snapping an unassisted goal past Miller. Sutter was falling to the ice when he scored his empty-netter with 1:31 remaining to seal the win.

"It's always good to beat [the Sabres], especially because sometimes it feels like the building's got a lot of Buffalo fans out there," said Staal. "Our fans are loud too, I'll give them a lot of credit. But there was a lot of Buffalo fans, too. It's a good rivalry."

Miller had 15 saves and Ward 12 in a scoreless first period.

Faulk gave the Hurricanes a 1-0 lead 2:39 into the second period on a slap shot from the point moments after Carolina won a faceoff. Just 21 seconds later, Vanek tied it when he found a loose puck on the left side of the net and jammed it home.

Game Notes

Buffalo is 3-7-2 in its last 12 games...The Hurricanes were 0-1-1 in their previous two...The Sabres went 0-for-2 on the power play while Carolina was 2- for-4. The Hurricanes were on a power play for Sutter's empty-net goal, though the team's were even strength with Miller pulled for an extra attacker.