Hurricanes visit Sabres as both jockey for position

The play of winger Sam Reinhart and a little home cooking may be just the answer to the ills of the Buffalo Sabres.

Buffalo (26-20-6, 58 points) blew three leads on Tuesday night before wresting away a 5-4 shootout win over Minnesota, sweeping the season series for the first time in the organization's history.

After it appeared the slumping Sabres had squandered another chance to make a move in their playoff push, Reinhart -- who also had a goal and an assist in regulation -- bailed out the club with only goal in the shootout.

The Sabres are at it again Thursday when the Carolina Hurricanes make their only visit to KeyBank Center this season. Carolina beat Buffalo 4-3 in Raleigh last month.

The Sabres desperately needed Tuesday's win. They had dropped two straight contests and were just 5-11-1 in their previous 17 dating back to a 4-2 win over the Boston Bruins on Dec. 16.

The win over Minnesota was the second contest in Buffalo's season-long seven-game homestand. The remaining games are against Carolina, Detroit, Winnipeg and New York's Islanders and Rangers.

Leaning on Reinhart may be a nice option for coach Phil Housley as his team tries to take advantage of the lengthy stretch of home games.

The right winger was a mainstay on the ultra-productive third line against the Wild. He scored what appeared to be the game-winner in the third period to make it 4-3, and left winger C.J. Smith and center Evan Rodrigues also tallied on a line that accounted for three of Buffalo's four goals in regulation.

Reinhart has already set career highs in helpers (34) and multi-point games (14), and his 47 points are just three shy of his career-best 50 set last season.

His offense has yielded results: Buffalo is 20-8-4 this season in games in which he has a point and 29-4-6 during his career when he posts a multi-point outing.

"I mean, we can't be taking any relief out of anything right now," said Reinhart. "The schedule's so important for us. The games are kind of winding down in a hurry, and we know how important every game is."

Carolina (26-21-6) is tied with Buffalo with 58 points for the first two spots out of wild-card position -- the Sabres have played one fewer game -- and the streaking Philadelphia Flyers, winners of eight straight, lurk close behind with 54 points.

The Hurricanes are 11-4-1 in their last 16 games dating back to Dec. 31. Coach Rod Brind'Amour's club is 4-1-1 in its last six.

Goalie Curtis McElhinney stopped all 23 shots in Pittsburgh on Tuesday to post his ninth career shutout in Carolina's 4-0 win over the Penguins. The backup netminder improved to 12-6-1 in registering his first shutout this season.

The win was the first of a five-game road trip, Carolina's longest this season.

"We have the chance to get into a playoff spot. It's going to take a lot of wins, but I think we're more than capable of doing it with this group right now," McElhinney, 35, told Fox Sports Carolinas following the shutout.

--Field Level Media

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