October 13, 2014

Though the Carolina Hurricanes have earned at least a point in all but one of their eight games this month, they've won only three times and remain a long shot to make the playoffs.

Following another missed opportunity, the Hurricanes try to avoid a fifth consecutive defeat and season sweep by the visiting Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night.

Carolina (31-27-14) has gone past regulation six times in going 3-1-4 and playing all but one game on the road this month. The Hurricanes opened their recent five-game trip with a 3-2 overtime win over Boston on March 10, then lost the next four while going to OT two more times and then a shootout against Minnesota on Saturday.

''We've got to make one more play,'' coach Bill Peters said after the 3-2 loss to the Wild. "It's that tight around the league no matter who you play and where you play. Everyone is competing very hard, and everyone is desperate for points."

The Hurricanes are seven points out of the final wild-card spot and need to pass three teams to capture it. Entering Monday, Carolina leads the league in losses after regulation.

"This time of year, it's getting to playoff-type hockey," center Jordan Staal said. "Guys don't want to give up anything crazy and teams make you work for your goals.

"It's also just kind of the way we play. We've been playing solid defensively, making sure no one gets in behind us and making them work for goals. It becomes a tight match sometimes."

Carolina has managed seven goals during the 0-1-3 skid and is 0 for 9 on the power play in three games since going 1 for 3 in a 3-2 overtime loss at Buffalo (29-34-10) on March 12. The Hurricanes, who dropped five straight Nov. 10-20, were last swept in a season series by the Sabres in 2006-07.

Rookie Jack Eichel has scored three of his team-leading 22 goals against Carolina, highlighted by the OT tally earlier this month.

Buffalo sandwiched two wins around an overtime loss before putting forth a lackadaisical effort in Saturday's 4-1 defeat at Toronto. After Brian Gionta opened the scoring early in the first period, the Sabres seemed to sag while totaling 21 shots and allowing three third-period goals.

"We've got to find a way to grind things out when we're not feeling our best," Gionta told the Sabres' official website. "We didn't look like a team that had much energy but you get out to an early lead, you've got to find ways to play under those circumstances."

Buffalo hasn't scored on the power play in five road games in which it's had a chance with the man advantage. It's 1 for 31 in the last 10 road contests.

Carolina has killed off all five Buffalo penalties this season, and 42 of 46 in its last 19 games overall.

Staal scored Saturday for the second time in three games.

Buffalo's Robin Lehner has dropped four straight starts, yielding three goals in each of the last three.

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