Sabres 4, Hurricanes 0

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Chris Drury scored to reach 30 goals for the first time in his NHL career, Martin Biron got his first shutout of the season and the Buffalo Sabres beat Carolina 4-0 Tuesday night to drop the Hurricanes out of the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

J.P. Dumont had two goals and Brian Campbell added another for the Sabres, who completed their regular season with five straight victories. They will be the No. 4 seed in the playoffs, where they will play Philadelphia in the first round.

The Hurricanes are headed the other way, losing for the fourth time in the final five games to settle for second in the East. Goaltender Martin Gerber hardly has been sharp down the stretch and gave up at least three goals for the seventh straight.

Carolina will play Montreal in the first round after Northeast Division champ Ottawa secured the best record by beating the New York Rangers 5-1.

Buffalo jumped ahead early and never really slowed down to increase its franchise record for victories to 52. With Carolina’s Josef Vasicek in the penalty box for tripping, Dumont used a nifty pass from Maxim Afinogenov to score less than four minutes after the opening face-off.

The Sabres increased the margin to 2-0 after keeping the pressure on in the offensive zone. Eventually, Daniel Briere got the puck to Campbell, and he took his time to get close to the net. A quick slap shot sneaked through Gerber’s right arm and his chest, and it trickled in to put the Hurricanes two goals down.

It was more than enough for Biron, who started for the first time in nearly two weeks. He and normal starter Ryan Miller are one of only four goaltender tandems in the NHL with 20 victories each, and they give coach Lindy Ruff a nice luxury for the postseason.

Biron made 33 saves, including two on short-handed breakaways by Carolina center Kevyn Adams.

Notes: Carolina RW Mark Recchi played in his 83rd game of the season, thanks to a midseason trade with Pittsburgh. … Buffalo won its final four road games and finished 25-13-3 away from home, the most road victories in the Eastern Conference. … Hurricanes LW Erik Cole, who missed his 22nd game with a fractured vertebra, will have a CT scan on Wednesday to see how he’s healing.

AP-ES-04-18-06 2214EDT

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