Aho’s late goal lifts Hurricanes past Sabres

Darling stellar in earning win

Hurricanes right wing Sebastian Aho celebrates his goal during the third period against the Sabres at KeyBank Center. Carolina beats Buffalo 3-1. (Timothy T. Ludwig / USA TODAY Sports)

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Sebastian Aho scored the go-ahead goal with 4:45 remaining to lead the Carolina Hurricanes to a 3-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday.

After a mistake by Sabres defenseman Justin Falk, who mishandled a bouncing puck, Aho grabbed the puck and raced toward the Buffalo net. Aho beat Chad Johnson with a wrist shot for his third goal of the season.

Justin Williams and Joakim Nordstrom (empty-netter) also scored for the Hurricanes (8-6-4). Scott Darling made 24 saves.

Evander Kane scored for Buffalo (5-11-4). Johnson stopped 30.

Williams opened the scoring with 5:14 remaining in the second. With a 2-on-1 opportunity, Williams — just out of the penalty box — faked a pass to his right before pausing and scoring on a wrist shot to the glove side. It was his third goal of the season.

Kane evened the score with 7:33 remaining. After receiving a pass from Ryan O’Reilly inside the right circle, Kane’s low shot went between Darling’s legs for Kane’s 11th goal of the season.

Kane appeared to give Buffalo a 2-1 lead 10 seconds later but had a goal overturned after officials deemed he kicked the puck into the net. Kane was going hard to the net and kicked the puck after Darling initially made a pad save.

Nordstrom added an empty-net goal with 40.9 seconds remaining.

The Sabres got off to an extremely slow start on their home ice. Buffalo didn’t record its first shot on goal until there was 2:36 remaining in the first period.

Darling was terrific throughout. The goaltender’s best moment came on an exceptional save on Kyle Okposo with one minute remaining in the first. The Carolina goaltender dove to his left at the top of the crease for a sprawling stop.

Darling also came up big with a slick breakaway save on Johan Larsson with five minutes remaining in the second.

One of Buffalo’s better chances came midway through the third period from point-blank range by Jack Eichel, but Eichel didn’t get all of the puck and Darling was able to make the save.

NOTES: LW Matt Moulson and D Casey Nelson were scratched for the Sabres. … D Zach Bogosian (lower body) and D Rasmus Ristolainen (upper body) remain on injured reserve for Buffalo. … D Klas Dahlbeck, RW Josh Jooris and RW Lee Stempniak were scratched for the Hurricanes. … Stempniak, a Buffalo native, is on injured reserve and has not played this season. … This was the first of three meetings this season. Their next meeting is Dec. 15 in Buffalo. …This was the 199th meeting.