RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Carolina Hurricanes' top line made things easier for Justin Peters in his first game filling in for injured staring goalie Cam Ward.
Alexander Semin had a goal and two assists, linemate Eric Staal added three assists and the Hurricanes beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-3 on Tuesday night.
Carolina was playing for the first time since Ward went on injured reserve following a torn MCL that will require a recuperation of six to eight weeks.
"Tonight we came out ready to go and set the tempo at the start," Carolina coach Kirk Muller said. "Our first two periods were good and then we got into a trap of letting our guard down. Justin is a competitor. You look at his career and he's learning all the time. He knows it's going to be more than one game. He was ready for a big game and took advantage of it."
Peters, recalled from Charlotte of the AHL, had 37 saves in his first start of the season for the Hurricanes.
"Every day in the NHL is awesome," said Peters, who was 22-12-1 with a 2.29 goals-against average and two shutouts for the Checkers. "You watch Cam Ward play and he's so calm and cool back there, I just try and learn from guys like him watching them on TV. His demeanor back there really feeds a lot to the bench."
Carolina, which has won four straight games, completed a sweep of the three-game season series with the Sabres.
Staal picked up his 600th NHL point with the first of his two assists on the night on Jiri Tlusty's goal in the first period. Joe Corvo and Jussi Jokinen also scored for Carolina.
"That top line has got to be one of the top lines in the game," Muller said. "They're plus-players and they produce. They set the tempo a lot of nights, and they're tough to handle down low. They have great chemistry."
Cody Hodgson scored twice and T.J. Brennan had a goal for the Sabres. Ryan Miller had 24 saves.
Carolina's top line struck quickly, with Tlusty beating Miller glove side from the slot on Staal's centering pass just 91 seconds into the game. Semin had the secondary assist, giving the trio a four-game scoring streak.
"We knew Justin was going to compete and battle, and he looked real solid and comfortable," Staal said. "He's a fun guy to compete in front of and I'm glad we got the win for him tonight. It's been fun playing beside two great players (Tlusty and Semin) who are playing great hockey. I'm just a part of it."