Raleigh, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - After having scored more than two goals only once in their last 18 games, the Carolina Hurricanes scored three in less than 1 1/2 minutes en route to a 5-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres.
Jiri Tlusty put Carolina up 2-1 on a 5-on-3 marker at the 13:50 mark of the second period. Less than a minute later, Eric Staal was credited with a wrap- around goal, and Victor Rask followed that up with a goal on a deflection 26 seconds later.
Jeff Skinner and Riley Nash also scored for the Hurricanes, while Ryan Murphy and Justin Faulk each had two assists.
Cam Ward stopped 18-of-20 shots to help Carolina win its third straight home game.
Both Sabres goals were scored by Philip Varone, who entered the contest with one goal in 10 NHL games. Chris Stewart assisted on both tallies.
Jhonas Enroth allowed all five Hurricanes goals on 31 shots as Buffalo fell for the 10th time in its last 11 games.
With two seconds left before the first penalty was slated to end, the Hurricanes scored their first 5-on-3 goal of the season. Tlusty set up between the three penalty killers and one-timed a pass from Nathan Gerbe into the back of the net.
Seconds after the second penalty expired, Staal was credited with a goal thanks to a fortunate bounce. His backhand pass attempt from behind the net caromed off Sabres defenseman Mike Weber's skate into the net to open a two- goal lead.
The Hurricanes were not finished. Ron Hainsey wristed a shot from the blue line and Carolina got another break when the puck deflected off Rask's leg into the net at 15:09 of the second.
"You gotta be alert," said Sabres coach Ted Nolan. "You gotta make sure when you get a chance, you gotta play with some urgency. That didn't happen, and when it doesn't happen, you take bad penalties and the game is over."
Varone scored his second of the game eight minutes into the final period. Tyson Strachan's shot from the blue line sailed high, and the puck skipped between Ward's pads after Varone deflected it in the air to pull Buffalo within two.
Nash extended Carolina's lead back to three goals less than two minutes later. Faulk's wrister made its way through traffic to Enroth, who could not control the rebound. Nash found the loose puck in the crease and swept it into the net for a 5-2 score.
After a scoreless first period, Skinner lit the lamp at the 4:52 mark in the middle frame. Alexander Semin maintained possession of the puck in the slot and found Skinner at the side of the net for a tap-in by Enroth.
"Obviously, it's been talked about it a lot here, the lack of offensive punch," said Staal. "Tonight, we stuck with it after the first. It was pretty chippy, back-and-forth with the puck bouncing, a lot of whistles. We kind of stepped it up in the second period with some big plays and broke it open."
A minute later, the Sabres responded. Stewart backhanded the puck to Varone entering the Carolina zone with speed, and after skating into the slot, he slid the puck past Ward who was moving to his right.
The season series is now even and will conclude on April 6 in Buffalo ... The Sabres fell to 1-20-0 when trailing after two periods ... Buffalo was outshot for the 35th time this season ... The Sabres have been outscored 50-28 in the second period this season ... Carolina defenseman John-Michael Liles picked up an assist after being activated off injured reserve earlier Thursday ... Semin also returned from IR.