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Hurricanes score 4 in 2nd, send Sabres to 6th straight loss

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Jeff Skinner scored one of Carolina’s four goals in the second period, and the Hurricanes beat Buffalo 5-2 on Thursday night, sending the Sabres to their sixth straight loss.

Jiri Tlusty had a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes, who have won three of four. Carolina, last in the Eastern Conference, moved within one point of Buffalo.

Tlusty, Eric Staal and Victor Rask scored in a 69-second span late in the second period. Riley Nash added a goal in the third period.

Philip Varone scored both Buffalo goals in his second game this season.

Cam Ward made 18 saves for Carolina, which has gone 10 games without allowing a power-play goal. Buffalo’s Jhonas Enroth stopped 26 shots.

Ryan Murphy and Justin Faulk added two assists each for Carolina. John-Michael Liles, playing after missing five games due to the flu, also had an assist.

Buffalo beat Carolina in a shootout on Oct. 14 in the first meeting between the teams this season.

Skinner gave the Hurricanes a 1-0 lead in the rematch at 4:42 of the second with his ninth goal of the second. He received Alexander Semin’s pass in the left circle and slid a shot past Enroth.

Varone tied it 69 seconds later, beating Ward glove side on a rush.

Carolina took advantage of a 5-on-3 power play later in the period. Tlusty beat Enroth from the doorstep at 13:50, and 53 seconds later — just three seconds after the 5-on-4 power play ended — Staal scored by sending a shot in off defenseman Mike Weber’s skate to make it 3-1.

Rask added Carolina’s fourth goal of the period at 15:09.

Varone scored his second goal at 8:17 of the third, but Nash made it 5-2 at 10:10.

NOTES: Buffalo will visit Tampa Bay on Friday. Carolina’s next game is Saturday at St. Louis. … The Hurricanes activated C Andrej Nestratil (upper body) from the injured list and sent him to Charlotte (AHL) on a conditioning assignment. LW Zach Boychuk and D Michal Jordan were also sent to Charlotte. LW Chris Terry and D Brett Bellemore were healthy scratches. … Buffalo captain RW Brian Gionta (upper body) missed his eighth game. D Andre Benoit and D Andrej Meszaros were healthy scratches. … The teams’ final meeting of the season is April 6 at Buffalo.

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