Wojtek Wolski scored the go-ahead goal 1:41 into the third period, extending the Colorado Avalanche's winning streak to five games with a 3-2 victory over the Sabres last night in Buffalo.
Paul Stastny set up two goals to extend his point streak to 17 games and match an NHL rookie record set in 1993 by Winnipeg's Teemu Selanne. Milan Hejduk had a goal and an assist, and Brett McLean also scored for the Avalanche, who are on their best roll since winning eight straight midway through last season.
The ninth-place Avalanche (34-29-5) moved to within 6 points of idle Minnesota in the race for the Western Conference's final playoff spot, and won their fourth straight road game. It's their longest streak since they won four in a row in January 2004.
Jason Pominville and Nathan Paetsch scored for the East-leading Sabres, who lost for the third time in 12 games (9-2-1).
The Sabres had a three-game winning streak snapped despite the return of cocaptain Chris Drury, who missed four games with a concussion after being blindsided by Ottawa's Chris Neil two weeks ago.
Wolski was credited with the decisive goal, even though it appeared Joe Sakic's pass from the left boards caromed in off the skate of Buffalo defenseman Dmitri Kalinin. The assist was the 965th of Sakic's career, moving him into 11th on the NHL list, one ahead of Doug Gilmour.
The Avalanche haven't missed the playoffs since 1994 when they were still based in Quebec City.
Lightning 3, Oilers 1 -- In Edmonton, Vincent Lecavalier scored twice to lift Tampa Bay over the struggling Oilers, who have lost five straight.
Vaclav Prospal had the other goal for Tampa Bay, which snapped a two-game skid and moved into a first-place tie with Atlanta atop the Southeast Division.
Blue Jackets 3, Kings 2 -- David Vyborny scored twice -- including a goal with 21.4 seconds left in overtime -- to lead host Columbus over Los Angeles.
Vyborny's 15th goal tied it, 2-2, at 5:02 of the third period. The win was the Blue Jackets' third in a row.
Ducks 2, Coyotes 1 -- Joe DiPenta scored the go-ahead goal midway through the third period, fellow defenseman Ric Jackman connected on a power play, and Anaheim notched its 10th straight home victory over Phoenix.