Tonawanda News — Cody Hodgson scored twice and T.J. Brennan had a goal for the Sabres. Ryan Miller had 24 saves.
Carolina's top line struck quickly, with Tlusty beating Miller glove side from the slot on Staal's centering pass just 91 seconds into the game. Semin had the secondary assist, giving the trio a four-game scoring streak.
"We knew Justin was going to compete and battle, and he looked real solid and comfortable," Staal said. "He's a fun guy to compete in front of and I'm glad we got the win for him tonight. It's been fun playing beside two great players (Tlusty and Semin) who are playing great hockey. I'm just a part of it."
The Hurricanes outshot the Sabres 12-6 in the opening period.
Corvo made it 2-0 with a power-play goal on a blast from the left point at 12:17 of the second.
Peters' best save came with 1:17 left in the second, when he stopped Thomas Vanek's shot in the crease with the barrel of his stick. Vanek was back in the Buffalo lineup after missing two games with a lower-body injury.
The Sabres made it 2-1 on a rush 25 seconds into the third, with Hodgson picking up the change from Vanek's blast from the high slot.
But Jokinen took just 50 seconds to restore the two-goal lead, scoring on Staal's feed into the low slot with Semin again on the secondary assist.
Brennan scored a power-play goal from the right point on Jason Pominville's assist with 5:27 remaining, just 3 seconds after Jay Harrison had returned to the ice to end a 5-on-3.
But Semin scored from Staal with 3:47 left to get Carolina the 4-2 lead.
Hodgson scored short-handed goal with 34 seconds to go.
"It was obviously disappointing.," said Buffalo interim coach Ron Rolston, coaching the Sabres' first ever game at Carolina without Lindy Ruff at the helm. "We were trying to fight back in it, and they would get one right after that. We've got to do a better job of taking care of those next couple shifts after we score."