BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Tage Thompson scored the go-ahead goal 6:15 into the third period, Rasmus Dahlin had a goal, two assists and a key blocked shot and the Buffalo Sabres kept their slim playoff hopes alive with a 4-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday.
Casey Mittelstadt scored twice and Buffalo improved to 6-1-1 in its past eight, with the win guaranteeing the Sabres remaining in contention through their game at the New York Rangers on Monday. A regulation loss, otherwise, would have put 10th-place Buffalo in position to be eliminated later in the day and extend its NHL-worst playoff drought for a 12th consecutive season.
Buffalo (39-32-7) matched its most victories since finishing 39-32-11 in 2011-12.
Sabres rookie Devon Levi stopped 32 shots to improve to 3-1 in making his third start nine days.
Dahlin played a pivotal role in a game the Sabres fell behind 2-1 when Jarvis and Fast scored 22 seconds apart in the final six minutes of the first period, and trailed 3-2 after Aho scored midway through the second period.
Dahlin was on top of his smooth-skating game in setting up Mittelstadt’s second goal to tie the game at 3 with 1:42 left in the second period.
Thompson’s go-ahead goal came on Buffalo’s next rush up the ice after Dahlin got back to lay down his stick to block Martin Necas’ from scoring into the open left side of the Sabres net. Thompson then scored his team-leading 46th goal with a one-timer from the slot that beat Raanta over his left shoulder.
Dahlin upped his career-best point total to 72, which ranks third on the team’s single-season list behind Phil Housley, who had 81 in 1989-90 and 77 in 1983-84. The goal was Dahlin’s 15th of the season, the most by a Buffalo blue liner since Alexei Zhitnik scored that many in 1997-98.
Sabres play back-to-back games on the road at the New York Rangers on Monday night, and the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday.