Though the Carolina Hurricanes
went home with a win, the Buffalo Sabres
didn't leave the RBC Center empty-handed -- much to the chagrin of the rest of the playoff contenders in the East.
Each team got a point when the horn went off to end regulation. Carolina needed just 26 seconds to get the extra point when Jamie McBain scored 26 seconds into overtime for a 3-2 victory on Thursday night.
The victory moved Carolina into seventh place in the Eastern Conference, one point ahead of the eighth-place New York Rangers and three in front of the ninth-place Sabres.
"The playoffs are now, really, when you look at the standings, and you look at the teams we're playing against," Carolina's Erik Cole said. "Every point is valuable."
Chad LaRose and Jiri Tlusty also scored for Carolina, 11-3-2 in its last 16 home games. The Hurricanes won consecutive games for the first time since the end of January.
But the Hurricanes were unable to prevent the Sabres from leaving Raleigh with a point.
"They get a point, too," said goalie Cam Ward, who made 27 saves. "In the perfect world, you'd like a win in regulation, but the guys competed really hard. They're a really good team."
Defenseman Joni Pitkanen started the winning play when he carried the puck over the Sabres' blue line and waited for the trailing McBain, whose slap shot went through traffic and between goalie Ryan Miller's legs.
"It kind of had eyes," McBain said. "Any shot's a good shot in overtime. You never know what's going to happen. I was just trying to get it to the net."
The Sabres, who won 3-2 in New York on Tuesday, improved to 1-0-1 on a seven-game trip and moved within two points of the Rangers -- with three games in hand. The Rangers lost 3-1 to Minnesota at home.
"I guess this is not so bad, but we let it go," Miller said.
Newly acquired Brad Boyes scored his second goal in two games for the Sabres, Steve Montador also had a goal and Miller made 21 saves.
The Sabres delighted the sizeable contingent of Buffalo 4:35 into the second period when Montador's slap shot from just inside the blue line beat a screened Ward. Tlusty tied it at 6:46, slamming home a loose puck after Brandon Sutter hit the post seconds earlier.
Boyes, acquired from St. Louis at the trade deadline, gave the Sabres a brief 2-1 lead at 10:12 when he knocked in a rebound. Defenseman Andrej Sekera's wrister hit a couple of players in front and fell in front of Ward, Boyes jammed it in to put Buffalo back in front.
The Hurricanes again needed little time to tie the score. Miller went behind his net to play a dump-in and sent the puck into a corner. Carolina's Jeff Skinner intercepted it and centered the puck to LaRose, who was out in front. LaRose outwaited a scrambling Miller before shoveling the puck into the net.
"My fault on that one," Miller said. "That second one is a tough play. My guys told me to play it, and I whiffed. I thought with (LaRose) being a righty, he was going to one-time it. He just held on to it. It would've worked to my favor had I just come back and gotten position."
Boyes had a breakaway early in the third but put a backhander into Ward's glove. Tyler Ennis then hit the post on a power play late in the third period.
"I thought we played great," Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said. "We had a couple of really good looks. When they don't go in, you lose the game, but when you compete like that for 60 minutes, you're going to win a lot of hockey games."
Material from team media and wire services was used in this report