BUFFALO, N.Y. — Teuvo Teravainen scored his second goal of the game 3:25 into overtime and the Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Buffalo Sabres 6-5 in a showdown of the Eastern Conference’s ninth-place teams Thursday night.
Brock McGinn Greg McKegg and Justin Faulk also scored in a game during which the Hurricanes squandered 2-0 and 5-3 leads, but never trailed. The teams combined for five goals in the third period.
Curtis McElhinney stopped 34 shots in his second consecutive start, and after a 23-save outing in a 4-0 win at Pittsburgh.
The Hurricanes capitalized on the transition after Buffalo’s Jack Eichel shot high and wide on the Sabres’ final rush of overtime. The puck bounced off the end boards to Teravainen for a breakaway. Driving in from the right side, Teravainen faked right before going across the crease and wrapping the puck around Linus Ullmark into the open left side.
The Hurricanes improved to 12-4-1 in their past 17 games in a turnaround that has had them jump from a tie for 15th in the East to gaining sole possession of ninth. Carolina (27-21-6) upped its total to 60 points and moving two ahead of Buffalo.
Both teams began the day three points behind Columbus, which holds the conference’s second and final wild-card spot.
The Sabres continue a spiral in dropping to 8-14-5 since they had a franchise-record-matching 10-game winning streak end in November. Buffalo was coming off a 5-4 shootout win over Minnesota on Tuesday and failed to win consecutive games for the first time since Dec. 11-13.
Jeff Skinner scored twice to up his team-leading total to 33. Jason Pominville, Evan Rodrigues and Marco Scandella also scored for Buffalo. Linus Ullmark finished with 33 saves, while allowing four goals on 14 shots in the third period and overtime.
The Hurricanes blew a pair of two-goal leads, including a 5-3 edge by allowing the Sabres to score twice in the final 4:19.
Scandella converted Sam Reinhart’s cross-ice pass into the right circle, by snapping a shot over McElhinney’s outstretched glove as the goalie made a lunging attempt to get across his crease.
Then, with Buffalo’s net empty for an extra attacker, Skinner scored his second goal to tie the game with 56 seconds left. Reinhart set that one up, too, by driving up the right wing and threading a pass through the middle to a wide-open Skinner, who sneaked a shot in off the bottom of McElhinney’s blocker.
Skinner, who was traded by Carolina to Buffalo in August, also tied the game at 3 earlier in the period by outmuscling Faulk and scoring on a partial breakaway.
The Hurricanes appeared to take control when McGinn put them ahead 4-3 by tapping in Martinook’s feed to the left post with 8:57 remaining. And then Nino Niederreiter scored 3:55 later on a power play and with Skinner in the penalty box for slashing.
NOTES: Sabres LW Johan Larsson returned after missing two games with an upper-body injury. … The game featured teams with the NHL’s longest active playoff droughts. The Sabres haven’t made the post-season since 2011. The Hurricanes’ drought dates to 2009. … Sabres D Zach Bogosian played his 600th career game. … Pominville’s goal was his 512th point with the Sabres, moving him into eighth on the franchise list, one ahead of Mike Foligno.
Hurricanes: Continue five-game road trip at New York Rangers on Friday night.
Sabres: Continue seven-game homestand against Detroit Red Wings on Saturday afternoon.
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John Wawrow, The Associated Press