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Hurricanes-Sabres Preview @NHLdotcom

GAME: Carolina Hurricanes at Buffalo Sabres.

PLAYOFF SERIES: Eastern Conference finals; tied 1-1.

TIME: Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. EDT.

The Carolina Hurricanes have been very good on the road during these playoffs. The Buffalo Sabres have had little trouble winning on home ice.

The Hurricanes look to continue their playoff success as a visiting team, while the Sabres try to maintain their home dominance as the East finals series shifts to HSBC Arena for Game 3.

Carolina is 4-1 on the road in this postseason - matching Buffalo's home mark.

"There is no doubt this is going to be a long, tough series," Hurricanes center Kevyn Adams said. "The key to going on the road is not to change your game, especially this time of year. It's fun to play at home, but we'll play anywhere right now."

While Buffalo will feed off the energy of the crowd at HSBC Arena, the hostility of the Sabres fans is also likely to give Carolina a lift.

"It's a loud building and it should be a great environment to play a hockey game in," said Hurricanes coach Peter Laviolette, whose team won both of its games in Buffalo during the regular season. "We can draw off that energy as well."

Laviolette's club appeared to do that from its own fans Monday night as it pulled even in the series with a 4-3 victory at the RBC Center. The Hurricanes got two second-period goals from Ray Whitney to take a 3-1 lead into the third period, and pushed the advantage to 4-1 before holding on.

Justin Williams' goal with 13:02 left proved to be the decisive score as Carolina rebounded from a 3-2 loss Saturday.

"We needed to win," Laviolette said. "I thought it was a good game for us. It was important for us to get involved in the series. Being down 0-2 would have been a tough task. This is only one game. We have to go to Buffalo and go to work."

Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff felt the final result wasn't indicative of the competitiveness of the game, as Derek Roy scored a power-play goal in the final second to cut the margin to one. Chris Drury had brought Buffalo to within two by scoring on a power play midway through the third.

"I wouldn't consider that a narrow defeat by any means," Ruff said.

Ruff was extremely unhappy with his team's focus and intensity in the first two periods.

"The first 40 minutes were probably the worst we have played in the playoffs. We made some stupid plays," the coach said. "We just had guys where their heads weren't on their shoulders. We weren't good in a lot of areas."

Ruff, though, might not have felt the same way if veteran Carolina defenseman Glen Wesley hadn't leaped over goalie Cam Ward to keep a puck trickling toward the goal line out of the net early in the third. The play preserved the Hurricanes' 3-1 lead, and Williams' goal a short time later pushed the advantage to three.

Carolina outshot Buffalo 35-19 after winning that battle 31-27 in Game 1. Ryan Miller made 31 saves Monday for the Sabres, but Buffalo fell to 1-3 in the playoffs when it allows more than two goals.

The biggest bright spot for the Sabres in Game 2 was their power play, which converted three of seven opportunities after going 0-for-3 in the opener. Buffalo, though, also allowed Carolina to get its potent power play back on track. The Hurricanes, who have converted an NHL-leading 27 percent of their man-advantage situations in these playoffs, were 2-for-5 on Monday after going 0-for-4 in Game 1.

Ward needed to make only 16 saves Monday to pick up his ninth victory of the playoffs, and Eric Staal had an assist for Carolina to extend his point streak to 12 games.

While the Hurricanes have played very well on the road, the Sabres accomplished what they wanted to do in Raleigh by earning a split and seizing home-ice advantage. Carolina, however, faced a far more desperate situation in the first round, when it headed to Montreal after losing the first two games at the RBC Center to the seventh-seeded Canadiens. The Hurricanes took both contests at the Bell Centre and went on to take the following two games as well.

"We'll see if they show up in our building the way they showed up (Monday)," Ruff said of the Hurricanes.

Game 4 will be Friday night.

HOW THEY GOT HERE: Hurricanes - 2nd seed; beat Montreal Canadiens 4-2, quarterfinals; beat New Jersey Devils 4-1, semifinals. Sabres - 4th seed; beat Philadelphia Flyers 4-2, quarterfinals; beat Ottawa Senators 4-1; semifinals.

PLAYOFF TEAM LEADERS: Hurricanes - Rod Brind'Amour, 7 goals; Staal, 12 assists and 17 points; Mike Commodore, 23 PIM. Sabres - Drury, 7 goals; Daniel Briere, 10 assists; Drury and Briere, 15 points; Jay McKee, 24 PIM.

PLAYOFF SPECIAL TEAMS: Hurricanes - Power play: 27.0 percent (17-for-63). Penalty killing: 82.4 percent (56-for-68). Sabres - Power play: 17.3 percent (13-for-75). Penalty killing: 84.3 percent (59-for-70).

GOALTENDERS: Hurricanes - Ward (9-3, 1 SO, 1.99 GAA); Martin Gerber (0-1, 5.26). Sabres - Miller (9-4, 1, 2.37); Martin Biron (no appearances).

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