Originally posted on Fox Sports Carolinas  |  Last updated 1/6/12
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Eric Staal had a goal and two assists to lead the Carolina Hurricanes past the Buffalo Sabres 4-2 on Friday night. Chad LaRose scored the go-ahead goal with 11:50 left, Justin Faulk also scored and Brandon Sutter added an empty-net goal for the Hurricanes. They never trailed in winning for the fourth time in seven games. They have earned points in three of four in their attempt to escape the Eastern Conference cellar. Jason Pominville was credited with a bizarre goal and added an assist, and Thomas Vanek also scored for Buffalo. The Sabres have lost nine of 12. Cam Ward made 31 saves for Carolina while Ryan Miller stopped 31 shots for the Sabres. That these teams were involved in a tight game at the RBC Center wasn't much of a surprise: Five of their previous eight meetings here wound up going to overtime, and the Hurricanes won four of those. For much of the way, this one appeared headed to OT, too -- until LaRose broke a 2-all tie with his 4-on-4 goal midway through the third period. LaRose skated down the ice on a 2-on-1 rush and sent a hard wrist shot over Miller's shoulder for his 11th goal and second in two games. The Hurricanes then killed a late penalty after Faulk was called for cross checking, and Sutter sealed it with his empty-netter with 1:31 left. Staal put the Hurricanes up 2-1 in the opening moments of the third when he collected a rebound off the backboards and slipped it behind Miller for his 10th goal and third in four games. He had no goals and three assists in the nine games before that. But an odd bounce led to the Sabres' tying goal with 12:56 left when Pominville whacked the stick of Carolina defenseman Jamie McBain near the end line. That sent the puck past a disbelieving Ward. That third-period flurry came after a first period that had no goals but plenty of scoring chances for both teams, and a second that included goals by each team in a 21-second span. Faulk put Carolina up 1-0 with 17:21 left in the period. He blasted a slap shot past Miller for the Hurricanes' third power-play goal in nine games. Buffalo tied it moments later when Vanek chipped a rebound past Ward from point-blank range for his team-best 19th goal. NOTES: Buffalo D Tyler Myers was back in the lineup after missing 19 games with a broken wrist. He rang the post with a slap shot about 11 minutes in. ... The Sabres fell to 13-6-4 against Carolina since the teams met in a seven-game Eastern Conference final in 2006. ... Carolina moved to .500 (10-10-3) on home ice. ... The Hurricanes lead the season series 2-1.
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