RALEIGH, N.C. – Marc-Andre Gragnani scored 2:56 into overtime to lift the Buffalo Sabres to a 2-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday night.
Chris Butler also scored and Jhonas Enroth made 35 saves for the Sabres, who won a tense matchup with a postseason feel — and plenty of playoff implications.
Buffalo, which has 90 points, kept hold of seventh place in the Eastern Conference and put the Hurricanes' playoff hopes in peril.
Eric Staal scored for Carolina, which had its three-game winning streak snapped. The Hurricanes earned one point to move to 87, two behind the eighth-place New York Rangers, with three games left for both teams.
Gragnani's winner came when he fired a wrist shot from the boards that appeared to ricochet off the sticks of two Carolina skaters and past goalie Cam Ward, who also was pestered by Drew Stafford near the net.
Ward finished with 29 saves in his 13th straight start. Had the Hurricanes won in regulation — and they had several chances to do it — they would have moved past Buffalo and into eighth place. Carolina went 0 for 6 on power-play chances, including 1 minute, 1 second with a 5-on-3 advantage and one critical 2-minute stretch in the final 3½ minutes.
That was in large part due to Enroth, who was spectacular in his third straight start in place of injured goalie Ryan Miller.
The only shot to get past him was a fluky one. Staal tied it at 1 with 14:10 left in the second when he skated along the left boards and threw the puck toward Enroth. With Chad LaRose crashing the net, Staal's shot bounced off defenseman Andrej Sekera's skate and over Enroth's shoulder.
That came after Butler gave Buffalo an early lead midway through the first by finishing a 3-on-2 rush with his first goal in 15 months. Trailing the play, he took a cross-ice feed from Stafford and snapped the puck high past Ward from the right circle. At that point, the Hurricanes had managed only one shot on goal.
NOTES: Stafford's assist was the 100th of his NHL career. ... Staal became the third player in franchise history with 500 points. He is the only one to register all of them with the Hurricanes. He also has points in seven of eight games.