Carolina evens series with Sabres

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

RALEIGH, N.C. -- This time, Carolina won the second period -- and the game.

Ray Whitney had both of his goals in those 20 minutes, Glen Wesley made a key defensive play early in the final period and the Hurricanes beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-3 on Monday night to even the Eastern Conference finals.

Frank Kaberle and Justin Williams also scored for Carolina in Game 2, and rookie Cam Ward needed only 16 saves to pick up his ninth victory of the playoffs. The Hurricanes had a 16-4 advantage in shots during the second period, a game after the Sabres led that statistic 13-4.

Game 3 is Wednesday night in Buffalo.

Whitney redirected a shot from Eric Staal on the power play for his first goal to give Carolina a 2-1 lead, then added another with the teams skating 4-on-4. Matt Cullen dug the puck out of the corner and passed to Whitney between the circles, and his one-timer slipped through goalie Ryan Miller to make it 3-1.

Buffalo nearly got within one goal early in the third period when defenseman Jay McKee sent a slap shot toward the net. It bounced off Ward's pads and was trickling toward the net when Wesley dived over the goalie to swipe it out of harm's way.

The play was reviewed in the replay booth.

A short time later, Williams skated in and sent a harmless wrist shot toward the net, but Miller somehow missed it with his glove to give Williams his sixth goal of the postseason.

That proved to be an important goal when Buffalo captain Chris Drury backhanded a rebound over Ward's right shoulder during a two-man advantage midway through the final period. It was 4-2 at that point, but the Hurricanes held on despite Derek Roy's power-play goal in the final second.

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