Jeff Skinner has scored his 26th goal of the season, and third in the past four games, as the Canes and Sabres are tied 1-1 after two periods.
The Sabres' Tyler Ennis scored on a penalty shot with 9:38 left in the first after Jiri Tlusty was called for hooking on an Ennis breakaway. Ennis beat Cam Ward with a blocker-side top-shelf shot.
Skinner tied it with 6:40 left in the period. After a faceoff win by the Canes' Elias Lindholm in the Sabres zone, Skinner wheeled out of the corner, maneuvered past defenseman Christian Ehrhoff and whipped a tight-angle shot past Sabres goalie Michal Neuvirth.
Neuvirth, obtained on the trade deadline last week from the Washington Capitals, made some nice stops in the opening period. Skinner had four shots and some good looks, and Neuvirth stopped Pat Dwyer on a point-blank attempt.
Never miss a local story.
Ward was making his second straight start after beating the New York Rangers 3-1 on Tuesday. The Sabres had a 7-1 shooting edge early in the first but the Canes closed with a 13-12 edge in the period.
Neuvirth was at his best in the second period, making 22 saves as the Canes outshot the Sabres 22-4. He made a sharp stop on a Radek Dvorak shot early in the period, weathered a Canes power play, made back-to-back saves on shots by Andrei Loktionov and Drayson Bowman, then weathered another power play.
During one sequence with about 4 1-2 minutes left in the second, both Ennis and Skinner both had quality chances to add their second goals of the game. But Ward stopped a backhander in front by Ennis and Neuvirth then gloved a Skinner shot 15 seconds later.
With less than a minute left in the second, both Eric Staal and Alex Semin were in position to score. But Neuvirth again turned back the shots.
The Sabres were down a defenseman early in the game after Alexander Sulzer was shaken up on a clean hit by Jiri Tlusty. Sulzer did not return.
Skinner extended his point streak to four games. Ryan Murphy earned an assist on the goal -- his first NHL point since Jan. 2 at Wasington -- and Lindholm picked up an assist.
Manny Malhotra, Justin Faulk, John-Michael Liles and Justin Peters were scratched for the Canes.