After a wild second period, in which seven goals were scored, the Canes led the Sens 5-3 at PNC Arena.
Nathan Gerbe had the only first-period score as Carolina took a 1-0 lead. But both goalies -- Anton Khudobin of the Canes and the Sens' Robin Lehner -- were under assault in the second.
The Canes jumped to a 4-0 lead as Eric Staal and Manny Malhotra scored 32 seconds apart, then Riley Nash scored from the slot. But Kyle Turris then scored twice for the Sens, the second shorthanded.
Tuomo Ruutu's power-play goal for the Canes made it 5-2 with 32.3 seconds left in the second. But the Sens rushed down the ice and Mika Zibanejad scored with 22.3 seconds left in the period.
The Canes had a four-minute power play late in the second after the Sens' Chris Neil was called for a double minor for high-sticking Jay Harrison.
Gerbe scored his 11th of the season after taking the puck from the Sens' Chris Phillips as Phillips battled with Manny Malhotra along the boards in the Sens zone. Gerbe skated behind the net, turned and whipped a shot between the legs of Lehner.
Khudobin stopped 10 shots in the first. His biggest stop came with about four minutes remaining in the period on a shorthanded attempt by Sens star Erik Karlsson.
With 54.8 seconds left in the first, the Canes' Jordan Staal ripped a shot that Lehner could not stop. The horned sounded and it was signaled a goal but a video replay showed that the puck hit the post and the goal did not count.
The Canes finished with six shots in the first period -- the first by Justin Faulk six minutes into the game.
The game was to be played Friday night but was pushed back a day when the Canes' game Tuesday at Philadelphia was postponed by snow and played on Wednesday. The Canes played at Buffalo on Thursday.