It would have been easy for the Carolina Hurricanes to have gotten frustrated Thursday at PNC Arena.

For more than 50 minutes, they kept firing shots at Buffalo Sabres goalie Michal Neuvirth. For more than 50 minutes, only Jeff Skinner got a shot past him.

But the Canes kept pushing, kept attacking, kept shooting. By game’s end, Carolina had a 4-2 victory as the Hurricanes scored three third-period goals.

Drew Stafford’s score, with a little more than 11 minutes left in regulation, gave the Sabres a 2-1 lead. It was much like the Feb. 25 game in Buffalo, when the Sabres were outshot nut kept it close and then won with a final-minute goal.

But the Canes’ Alexander Semin tied the score 2-2 with a power-play goal. Semin then set up Jiri Tlusty for a shot in the slot and the go-ahead goal with six minutes, 17 seconds left in regulation.

Nathan Gerbe’s empty-net score in the final second sealed it for the Canes (29-28-9), who still believe it’s possible to claw their way back into contention for a playoff berth, even as time – and games – are running short.

The Canes had a season-high 55 shots, and Skinner’s 13 shots set a franchise record, topping Eric Staal’s 12 against Atlanta on March 28, 2008.

Cam Ward made a second straight start in net for the Canes and now has won back-to-back games for the first time since late-November. Ward didn’t get a lot of work, facing 23 shots in all and only 11 in the final two periods.

“It was a good job by everyone to stick with it and persevere through it,” said Skinner, who scored his 26th of the season in the first period. “We had a lot of quality chances and (Neuvirth) made some good stops.

“It’s tough not to get frustrated but you have to stick with it and believe it’s going to pay off. It did tonight.”

The power play has been a struggle all season for the Canes and they misfired on their first four power plays Thursday. But Semin ripped a shot from the top of the left circle, the puck glancing off the skate of Sabres defenseman Mike Weber in front and past Neuvirth.