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HURRICANES 4, SABRES 3

Carolina gets even

Wesley helps stop Buffalo

RALEIGH, N.C. -- It was the kind of play that saves not only a game, but perhaps a season.

Glen Wesley, an 18-year veteran and the longest tenured active NHL player not to win the Stanley Cup, dived over his goalie to stop a sure goal.

``It was just a reaction thing, and fortunately, it stayed out," said Wesley, the former Bruin who played in his 157th career playoff game.

And fortunately for the Carolina Hurricanes, he was there to protect the lead in the third period.

Ray Whitney had both of his goals in a dominating second 20 minutes and the Hurricanes beat the Buffalo Sabres, 4-3, last night to even the Eastern Conference finals.

Frank Kaberle and Justin Williams also scored for Carolina in Game 2, and rookie Cam Ward needed only 16 saves to pick up his ninth victory of the playoffs. The Hurricanes had a 16-4 advantage in shots during the second period, a game after the Sabres led that statistic, 13-4.

``We made a note of it after the first period to make sure we didn't have a letdown and continued to skate hard," Whitney said. ``With our team, when we skate hard, it's a better mix for us, when we're not standing around and watching other teams do their thing."

Game 3 is tomorrow night in Buffalo.

``We were skating and it was just fun to watch," Ward said.

Whitney redirected a shot from Eric Staal on the power play for his first goal to give Carolina a 2-1 lead, then added another with the teams skating 4 on 4. Matt Cullen dug the puck out of the corner and passed to Whitney between the circles, and his one-timer slipped through goalie Ryan Miller to make it 3-1.

Buffalo nearly got within one goal early in the third period when defenseman Jay McKee sent a slap shot toward the net. It bounced off Ward's pads and was trickling toward the net when Wesley leaped over the goalie to swipe it out of harm's way.

The play was reviewed in the replay booth, and referee Dan O'Halloran quickly skated away from the phone to signal no goal.

``I saw Cam stop it and it literally trickled through him," Wesley said. ``Fortunately, I was on the side and not in front of him, and I was just able to get my stick on it, I guess in the nick of time."

A short time later, Williams skated in and sent a deflected wrist shot toward the net, where Miller simply whiffed on it with his glove to give Williams his sixth goal of the postseason.

``The puck just hit the edge of my glove, hit my face, my shoulder, went in," Miller said. ``I would have liked to have played it differently, obviously."

That proved to be an important goal when Buffalo captain Chris Drury backhanded a rebound over Ward's right shoulder during a two-man advantage midway through the final period. It was 4-2 at that point, but the Hurricanes held on to take the best-of-seven series back to Buffalo despite Derek Roy's power-play goal in the final second.

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