RALEIGH, N.C. – Dan Bylsma's date with history will have to wait.
Carolina eked out a 2-1 shootout victory over Buffalo on Saturday, keeping the Sabres' coach at 299 wins. Bylsma fell to 299-164-50 during his career.
Bylsma is looking to become the 47th coach to reach the milestone. The only three members of the 300-win club who have a higher points percentage than Bylsma (.631) are Bruce Boudreau (.659), Scott Bowman (.657) and Toe Blake (.634).
The Sabres fell to 7-3-3 in their last 13 games. They dropped to 3-7 in overtimes and shootouts. Carolina improved to 3-7.
Lee Stempniak and Sebastian Aho scored in the shootout for the Hurricanes. Sam Reinhart and Jack Eichel failed to find the net.
Tying it: After controlling the puck down low, Marcus Foligno passed to Jake McCabe at the left point. The defenseman sent a low pass toward the front of the net, where Evander Kane tipped it past goaltender Cam Ward with 2:37 to play.
Kane has five goals and three assists in his last nine games.
Bounce to the lead: Carolina scored the opening goal, taking advantage of a bouncing puck. Defenseman Brett Pesce flipped the puck into Buffalo’s zone from his own end, and neither teammate Jay McClement nor Sabres defenseman Zach Bogosian could corral it. Joakim Nordstrom did, firing the puck past goalie Anders Nilsson with 5:56 left in the opening period.
Not a lot: The Sabres took just 22 shots during regulation. Carolina had only 16. The teams swapped great chances during overtime. Nilsson made six saves, while Ward turned aside two point-blank shots.
Late rally in first: Carolina nearly sent the Sabres into the first intermission in a 2-0 hole, swarming the Buffalo net. But after Victor Rask hit the far post, Nilsson made two big stops to keep the Sabres’ deficit just one.
Buffalo outshot the Hurricanes, 8-7, during the opening 20 minutes. Ward’s best stop came on Matt Moulson at the top of the crease.
Silent second: Neither team scored during the second period. They didn’t get many shots, either. Carolina had a 6-4 edge.
The Hurricanes had the best chances with 7:30 left. Jeff Skinner controlled the puck in the Sabres’ zone and pulled Nilsson out of his crease with a drive. The puck went to Ron Hainsey at the top of the slot, but the defenseman missed the vacated net with his shot.
Switching it: Buffalo had just three shots through the opening 15 minutes of the second, so Bylsma changed lines for a few shifts. Jack Eichel skated with Ryan O’Reilly and Kyle Okposo. Evander Kane joined Johan Larsson and Brian Gionta. Marcus Foligno took Kane’s spot with Zemgus Girgensons and Nicolas Deslauriers.
Sam Reinhart joined Eichel and Okposo during the third period, while the flip-flop for Kane and Foligno continued.
Bogo back: Bogosian played for the first time since suffering a sprained knee ligament Nov. 1. He missed 20 games. Bogosian replaced Justin Falk in the lineup.
Bogosian boosted the energy level of both teams with 13:08 remaining. The defenseman flattened Viktor Stalberg along the boards, getting the fans and players back into the game.
Counting the house: The Hurricanes announced 11,682 tickets sold. Sabres backers were the loudest among the low number of fans who cashed in the tickets. Chants of “Let’s go, Buffalo” started early, though the team’s lackluster play through 40 minutes quieted things down.
Next: After back-to-back games, the Sabres will get to relax in the South Florida warmth Sunday. They’ll return to practice Monday and visit the Florida Panthers on Tuesday. The Hurricanes will come to Buffalo on Thursday, and the Sabres will head to Brooklyn to face the New York Islanders on Friday.