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NHL Game Summary - Buffalo at Carolina

(Sunday, March 21st)

Final Score: Buffalo 5, Carolina 3

Raleigh, NC (Sports Network) - Jochen Hecht scored twice as the Buffalo Sabres used a four-goal second period to down the Carolina Hurricanes, 5-3, at RBC Center.

Tim Connolly had a goal and an assist while Toni Lydman and Tim Kennedy each lit the lamp for the Sabres, who have won three straight. Ryan Miller made 27 saves in the win.

"We play a full 60 minutes tonight and had a successful road trip," said Hecht. "We got points in four of the five games and things are looking good for us heading back home."

Buffalo, which went 3-1-1 on the five-game road trip, has a solid lock on the Northeast Division with 88 points and increased its edge over idle Montreal and Ottawa by nine points. Also, the team trails Pittsburgh by two points for the second spot in the Eastern Conference.

Eric Staal, Sergei Samsonov and Brandon Sutter each had a goal for the Hurricanes, who had won two straight coming into the game. Justin Peters allowed four goals on 14 shots before being pulled in the second period. Manny Legace, who was forced out of Saturday's overtime win due to injury, stepped in and stopped 5-of-6 shots the rest of the way.

"We had a tough time with them when they were around the net tonight," said Sutter. "It's something we gotta work on. We're still playing good hockey so we have to rebound here our next game."

Carolina is eight points behind Boston for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 10 games to play.

Hecht made it a 2-0 game just 1:49 into the second period and scored his second goal of the game less than three minutes later when he skated around the left side and used the wraparound from the right side.

Lydman made it 4-0 and chased Peters as his wrister from the right circle on the rush got home at the 8:45 mark.

Carolina got on the board just 12 seconds after Lydman's goal as Samsonov's wrister from the left point from a faceoff win found its way to the back of the net.

Buffalo, though, got it back at the 11:11 mark of the second when Vanek hit Kennedy behind the defense with a pass and Kennedy slipped a backhander between the pads of Legace.

Carolina caught a break to make it a 5-2 game as Miller grabbed a dump-in to the right of his net and threw it right over to the left side where Sutter stuck it through Miller's pads as he scrambled into the crease 2:07 into the third.

The Hurricanes got within two on the power play with Legace on the bench for a 6-on-4 advantage as Staal's one-timer from the right circle snuck inside the left goalpost with three minutes left.

Carolina kept Legace on the bench for the rest of the game, but was unable to get any closer.

Buffalo struck on the power play with 6:13 left in the first as Thomas Vanek blasted a shot on net from the high slot that Peters stopped, but the rebound sat at the right side where Connolly backhanded it home.

Game Notes

Buffalo improved to 25-0-0 when leading after two periods this season..Each team won twice in the season series...Derek Roy and Vanek each had two assists in the game...Carolina's Jamie McBain, who assisted on Staal's goal, has a goal and four assists over his first four NHL games.

03/21 20:50:03 ET

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