RALEIGH -- The Buffalo Sabres scored two goals one minute a part to earn a 3-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes in PNC Arena Tuesday night. Johan Larsson scored the game-winner with 2:49 left in regulation off after Evander Kane had tied the game a minute earlier, taking a pass from Ryan O'Reilly behind the net to tie the game, 2-2.
Joakim Nordstrom scored with 6:20 left in the third period to give the Carolina Hurricanes a 2-1 lead. Nordstrom took a pass from Jordan Staal as the Hurricanes gained the Buffalo zone. He turned away from Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen, skated in hard on goalie Chad Johnson and beat the goalie for the game-winning goal.
The Sabres had taken a 1-0 lead when Carlo Colaiacovo opened the scoring at 12:22 of the first period.
The Hurricanes tied the game with 7:50 left in the second period when Noah Hanifin drew all the Sabres defenders to him and hit an open and streaking Chris Terry who snapped the puck past Chad Johnson.
First goal: Colaiacovo scored his first goal of the season, and his first with the Buffalo Sabres, at 12:22 of the first period. Colaiacovo ripped a shot from the blue line over the shoulder of Cam Ward to give the Sabres a 1-0 lead. It was the 34th career goal for the defenseman with assists to Mark Pysyk and Marcus Foligno.
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Career highs: With the assist on Colaiacovo's goal, Pysyk has established new career highs in assists (seven) and points (eight). His previous best was six assists and seven points in 44 games with the Sabres in 2103-14.
Big saves: Johnson had eight saves in the opening period making two key saves. With the game still scoreless he moved across the crease to stop Jeff Skinner, who was poised for a tip-in. Then with 3:07 left in the period, he kept the Hurricanes off the board stopping former Sabre Nathan Gerbe who was hard-charging the net.
Second period melee: With 1:27 left in the second, Brian Gionta and Skinner started shoving. Foligno leaped on top of Skinner. Larsson wrestled Skinner to the ground and got a few punches in. When all was said and done, Foligno and Larsson each received two minutes for roughing and Skinner ended up with two minutes for slashing, two minutes for roughing and a 10-minute misconduct.
Power play opportunity: With the score tied, 1-1, and just over 10 minutes left in regulation, the Sabres got four minutes of power-play time when Brad Malone was called for slashing then got tabbed with an extra two for unsportsmanlike conduct. But the Sabres generated just two shots on goal.
College signing: Tuesday afternoon, the Sabres announced they had signed college free agent Casey Nelson to an entry-level contract. The 6-2 defenseman just finished his junior season at Minnesota State, leading a defense which allowed the fewest shots per game in the NCAA this year. Nelson was the WCHA Defensive Player of the Year and a member of the All-WCHA First Team.
“We’ve been consistently impressed with Casey’s play for the last two years,” Sabres general manager Tim Murray said in a statement. “We identified him as one of the top college free agents available and we’re excited to have him join the organization.”
Nelson, a native of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisc., played in 99 games for Minnesota State and finished his collegiate career with 60 points (14 goals, 46 assists) and a plus-28 rating. This past season, he led all Maverick defenders in goals (six), assists (16) and points (22) and led all skaters with a plus-15 rating.
Moment of silence: Before the anthem, PNC Arena observed a moment of silence for the victims of the Brussels attacks.
History note: On March 22, 1977 Bob Sauve recorded his first NHL win – a 6-3 victory over the Atlanta Flames.
Counting the house: The announced attendance was 12,676 at PNC Arena. A look around the stands and it appears there were good seats available in all price ranges.
Up next: The Sabres have a break in the schedule, not playing again until Saturday when they host Winnipeg at 1 p.m. in First Niagara Center. They hit the road for the following two games playing at Detroit March 28 and at Pittsburgh March 29.