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Hurricanes sweep home-and-home set from Sabres

by Chris Ryndak /

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- In the second game of a back-to-back, home-and-home series between the Buffalo Sabres and Carolina Hurricanes, the third period proved to be the decisive one. The Hurricanes defeated the Sabres for the second night in a row, this time on the road.

Jay Harrison broke a tie with 4:50 remaining to send the Hurricanes to a 3-1 victory against the Sabres on Friday at First Niagara Center.

Following an icing call, Hurricanes captain Eric Staal won a faceoff against Tyler Ennis. The puck went back to Harrison, who slapped a shot from the point over the shoulder of goaltender Ryan Miller.

The teams took 41 shots each. The Sabres opened the scoring then gave up three unanswered goals in the final period.

Less than two minutes into the third period, Sabres forward Thomas Vanek took the puck in the corner to goalie Dan Ellis' right and muscled his way through defenseman Joni Pitkanen. Vanek worked his way into the slot and wristed a shot past Ellis for his third goal of the season.

Alexander Semin tied the game on a Carolina power play about 90 seconds later for his first goal with the Hurricanes. As Sabres defenseman Robyn Regehr reached out to tap the puck out of the zone, Semin stole it and went hard toward the middle of the ice. He pulled back and sniped a shot into the corner over Miller’s glove.

Jeff Skinner added an empty-net goal with 25.2 seconds remaining.

The teams met the night before in Carolina with the Hurricanes getting a 6-3 victory. Staal had a hat trick that included the game-winning goal, and Skinner added a pair of goals, but Friday’s rematch would not provide as much scoring.

Miller stopped 39 shots and Ellis made 40 saves. Ellis' prior appearance against Buffalo came as a member of the Nashville Predators when he allowed three goals on 14 shots in relief on Feb. 27, 2008.

The Sabres were without Ville Leino (hip) and Cody McCormick (finger) for the fourth consecutive game. Coach Lindy Ruff said earlier in the day that Leino’s injury would not require surgery. Tuomo Ruutu missed another game for Carolina with a hip injury.

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