That was a wild one.
Twice the Hurricanes had a two-goal advantage. Twice the Sabres erased it, once within the final five minutes of regulation.
But the Hurricanes never backed down, never wilted, even when momentum wasn't on their side.
"It was a battle. I feel like we had the game in our hands, and then we weren't smart enough and let them come back," Teravainen said. "We have to be more careful at the end there. At the same time, it's a good way to finish in overtime. That's pretty exciting."
"The result is what we wanted. The third period was really good until the last five minutes. We got to our game just like we wanted to," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "Unfortunately, we went off it again in the last five minutes. You have to give the guys a lot of credit. They could have easily just folded up tent there."
Three-on-three overtime is wide open, and a failed odd-man rush one way often leads to one in the other direction.
In this instance, a wide shot that rimmed around the boards led to what was a 2-on-0 break for the Hurricanes. Teravainen raced after the puck, while Williams, gassed at the end of the shift, waved him on.
"It was a 2-on-0, but Willy was unselfish. He waved, you go Turbo," Sebastian Aho smiled. "He trusted Turbo. It was a great move."
Teravainen went forehand-backhand-forehand, and Linus Ullmark bit on the backhand move. It was an easy goal for Teravainen from there.
Video: CAR@BUF: Teravainen uses slick deke to net OT winner
"I was pretty tired," he said. "I figured I had to go myself and try something. At the end, I felt like I should try some move, and I got lucky."
Teravainen scored his first of the game early in the second period to give the Hurricanes a 2-0 lead at the time.
Andrei Svechnikov's stick snapped in half on his shot attempt, but the puck still found its way into the slot, where Jordan Martinook's scoring chance was acrobatically swatted away by Ullmark. That left the Sabres' netminder down and out of position, though, and Teravainen outhustled Casey Mittelstadt to backhand the puck into the empty net.
Video: CAR@BUF: Teravainen dives to bury rebound
"He's one of those players that's an elite, game-changing type player. He has that type of talent. You saw it overtime," Brind'Amour said. "That's what he can do for us."
So, about that third period.
The Hurricanes and Sabres combined for six goals, with the Canes taking a lead twice and the Sabres tying it in either instance.
The Canes had 1:48 of carryover power-play time to begin the third period, but they couldn't do much with it. Enter the bump-up shift from the fourth line. Trevor van Riemsdyk walked the puck in a few steps and fired a pass to Greg McKegg, who was parked alongside the goal. His first shot attempt bounced square off the post, but he easily tapped in his own rebound to put the Canes back on top, 3-2.
Video: CAR@BUF: McKegg finishes at the side of the net
Jeff Skinner then scored his first of two goals in the period to even the score once again, and then it was the Canes to get back on top, as Martinook fed Brock McGinn in the slot for his fifth goal of the season.
Video: CAR@BUF: McGinn bangs in pass from Martinook
Then, on another power play, Tervainen dished a rebound from an Aho shot to Nino Niederreiter in the slot to give the Canes a two-goal cushion with 5:02 left in regulation.
Video: CAR@BUF: Niederreiter shovels in pass from Teravainen
"That was a big goal," Aho said. "Pretty simple. I shot the puck. Greasy rebound. Great pass by Turbo, and [Niederreiter] put it in."
It seemed like that would hold up as the game.
But the Sabres came roaring back in the game's final five minutes, as Marco Scandella trimmed the Canes' lead in half and then Skinner scored his second of the game against his former team to tie the score at five with less than a minute to play.
"Skinner was just beating me up pretty good. Unfortunately, he's had my number this year. He's made some great plays," Curtis McElhinney said. "The biggest thing was we got that two-goal lead there. I would have liked to have done a little bit of a better job on my end. … It's a tough one, but the guys battled it out."
The Hurricanes got off to a fast start and put together a solid first 10 minutes, as Justin Faulk put the team ahead just four minutes into the game.
As Aho wheeled down low with the puck, Skinner lost track of Faulk, who snuck in from the point behind him. Aho recognized this and fed Faulk with a pass right on his tape, which he one-timed top-shelf past Ullmark.
Video: CAR@BUF: Faulk roofs one-timer past Ullmark
But then the Canes came off their game a bit, and Buffalo began racking up shots on goal and controlling the puck, a trend that continued into the second period and wasn't rectified until the third - until it reared its ugly head again in the final five minutes of regulation.
"We started really well in the first 10 minutes, but for whatever reason, we just took a breath and thought we could just kind of cruise through it," Brind'Amour said. "We never got our game going until the third period."
Even giving an extra point to the Sabres in overtime, that's a big win for the Hurricanes, plain and simple.
And in the end, that's what matters, especially at this point of the season.
"They came back, too, and got the point, but even though they got the game-tying goal, we kept going forward and got the extra point."
"It's two desperate teams fighting their way to get into a playoff spot right now. We're just about there, but we've got to keep pushing," McElhinney said. "I think you saw a little bit of desperation at both ends at times and maybe some poor play in both ends at the same time. I'm just thankful to be on the right side of it."
"I love this group. I've been saying it all year. They've been kicked down a lot and had a lot of bad things happen, and they keep bouncing back," Brind'Amour said. "Even tonight, the game should have been over and we let them back in. That could have easily been a way to just look the other way, but they found a way. I appreciate the effort this group gives every night."
That was the biggest came of the season. The locker room knew it.
"It was huge. We know Buffalo is right there," Teravainen said. "We knew it was our biggest game of the year. It's big to get the win."
Until the next night, of course.
"Yeah, again, it's the biggest game of the year. We're in a position where we have to win every game," Teravainen said. "We have to be ready, especially on the road. We have to fight for any point."
The Hurricanes head southeast to Manhattan to take on the New York Rangers in an 8 p.m. Friday night puck drop.
"All of the games are going to be tough down the stretch," Brind'Amour said. "They're pivotal for us, and a lot of teams are still in the hunt. It's going to be a grind the rest of the way."