Jamie McBain scores in OT for Hurricanes

Jamie McBain scored 26 seconds into overtime to give the Carolina Hurricanes a 3-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night.

Carolina defenseman Joni Pitkanen rushed the puck over the Sabres' blue line and waited for the trailing McBain. McBain's slap shot made it through traffic before sneaking through goalie Ryan Miller's legs.

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.

Cam Ward made 27 saves.

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.

Buffalo, which had won four in a row on the road, is in the midst of a seven-game trip.

The two teams are battling each other for playoff positioning, which led Carolina captain Eric Staal to call it a "huge" game. With the victory Carolina moved to seventh in the Eastern Conference, a point ahead of the New York Rangers and three ahead of Buffalo.

After an uneventful first period, the Sabres got the sizable contingent of Buffalo fans on their feet early in the second when Montador slapped a shot past a screened Ward from just inside the blue line.

The Hurricanes countered quickly, with Tlusty finishing off a scramble in front of Miller. Brandon Sutter had hit the post seconds earlier.

The teams traded goals again later in the period.

Boyes, acquired from St. Louis at the trade deadline, gave the Sabres a brief 2-1 lead when he cleaned up a rebound. Buffalo defenseman Andrej Sekera had wristed a shot from the point that hit a couple of players in front, causing the puck to fall in front of Ward. Boyes was there to pick it up and jam it past Ward quickly.

The Hurricanes tied the score less than 2 minutes later. Miller went behind his net to corral 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 Miller, who tried to scramble back into the net, before shoveling the puck into the net.

With the score still tied at 2, Boyes had a breakaway early in the third but backhanded the puck into Ward's glove. Buffalo's Tyler Ennis then hit the post on a power play late in the third period.

NOTES: Carolina killed off three Buffalo power plays in the first period and five for the game. Ward has started 24 consecutive games for the Hurricanes. ... Sekera had two assists for Buffalo.