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Hurricanes 5, Sabres 3 @NHL

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Erik Cole made NHL history and the Carolina Hurricanes kept on winning.

Cole became the first player to be awarded two penalty shots in one game, scoring on the first, and the Hurricanes got their franchise-record eighth straight victory, 5-3 over the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday night.

He was awarded the first penalty shot while the Hurricanes were short-handed in the third period after being hauled down from behind by Buffalo forward Jochen Hecht. The goal gave Carolina a 4-1 lead.

Later in the third, Cole was hooked by Dmitri Kalinin and was awarded another penalty shot, but was foiled by Martin Biron.

"I made the move I wanted, but not the shot I wanted," said Cole, who became the first player in NHL history to take two penalty shots in one game according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said the new rules may have had something to do with the awarding of the penalty shots.

"I don't know if those could have been called a couple of years ago," he said.

Martin Gerber tied his career-high with 41 saves as Carolina eclipsed the seven-game winning streak set 20 years ago when the team was located in Hartford.

"Actually, I'm not sure we're paying attention to that," said Cole, who also had two assists for Carolina, which is off to its best start in team history. "I'm just paying attention to doing whatever it takes to help this team."

That includes taking a slap shot by Kalinin off the bottom of his right knee late in the game, forcing the left wing to seek treatment after the game.

With a large ice pack on his knee, Cole hobbled gingerly around the locker room, but said he should be fine for the game in Florida on Friday night.

Ray Whitney, Michael Zigomanis, Frantisek Kaberle and Justin Williams also scored for the Hurricanes, who haven't lost in regulation since Oct. 8, when they fell to the New York Islanders. Since that defeat, the Hurricanes have won 10 of 11 games.

Cory Stillman contributed three assists, tying a career-high.

"When we come to the rink we're having fun, but we also expect to win," Stillman said. "That's a great mentality to have."

Gerber, who was making his second consecutive start after getting his fourth career shutout against Florida on Saturday, thwarted the Sabres in the second period when they peppered him with 22 shots. At one point midway through the period, Buffalo held a 16-1 edge in shots.

"We knew they were going to throw everything they could at the net," Gerber said. "They had a couple of big chances, but we always had someone there to close the gap or block a shot."

Despite the record-setting win, Carolina coach Peter Laviolette was disturbed with his team's defensive play, especially in the second.

"That period was real ugly," he said. "We didn't do a good job pressuring them or pressuring the puck."

Thomas Vanek scored twice, including his first career goal, and Ales Kotalik added a goal for Buffalo, which lost its fourth straight. After winning six of their first eight games, the Sabres have lost six of seven, including four straight at home.

"It's really frustrating," Vanek said. "We got a lot of shots, but we have to buckle down and work harder to get the rebounds."

Kotalik opened the scoring nearly five minutes in on the power play with his eighth goal of the season, and sixth with the man-advantage.

Carolina tied it 10 minutes later on Whitney's fourth goal, and took a 2-1 lead when Zigomanis recorded his first goal of the season with 1:40 left in the first.

Zigomanis, Buffalo's third-round draft pick in 1999, took Eric Staal's drop pass in the slot and wristed it past Biron.

The assist extended Staal's point streak to nine games. The second overall pick in 2003 has 19 points during the span.

Vanek closed the gap to 4-2 with a power-play goal in the third, and made it 4-3 with seven minutes remaining, deflecting Henrik Tallinder's shot from the left point.

Williams capped the scoring with an empty-net goal.

Biron finished with 17 saves in his fourth straight start replacing the injured Ryan Miller.

"He wasn't quite there," Ruff said of Biron. "We were working hard, and every guy was pressing. ... I need Marty to press, too."

Notes: Buffalo D Jay McKee missed his second straight game with a bruised foot. ... The Sabres recalled D Jeff Jillson from their AHL affiliate in Rochester. ... Carolina D Glen Wesley missed his first game of the season with a groin injury. ... The Hurricanes' previous best start after 14 games was in 1991-92 and 1996-97 when they accumulated 16 points in each of those seasons. ... Carolina is 9-0-1 when Stillman registers a point.

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