TAMPA, Fla. – Daniel Briere had three goals, including two during a three-goal first period, as the Eastern Conference-leading Buffalo Sabres beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-1 on Tuesday night.

Briere completed his first career hat trick from in-close with 7:39 left to play.

Buffalo also got a goal from Chris Drury, who has a four-game goal-scoring streak. The Sabres, coming off a 7-4 defeat to Washington on Saturday, have not lost consecutive games this season.

Vincent Lecavalier scored for the Lightning, who have lost four in a row. He has a goal in four straight games.

After Lecavalier scored 53 seconds into the game, Briere tied it at 1-all at 7:17. Drury put the Sabres ahead at 10:34 before Briere made it 3-1 with 2:45 left in the first.

Panthers 3, Penguins 2

PITTSBURGH – Olli Jokinen’s first road goal of the season helped the Panthers stop a six-game losing streak in a 3-2 win over the Penguins on Tuesday night.

Minutes after Sidney Crosby tied the game at 2-2 in the third period with a highlight-reel goal for Pittsburgh, Jokinen’s slap shot from above the right circle on a power play won it for Florida.

Jokinen and Gary Roberts each had a goal and an assist and Ruslan Salei had two assists in Florida’s first victory since beating Boston 3-2 on Nov. 20. The Panthers had scored one goal in their previous four games.

Jokinen’s game-winner, a slap shot from above the right circle on a power play with about five minutes left, was his 12th goal but first in 15 road games.

Senators 4, Islanders 2

UNIONDALE, N.Y. – Dany Heatley scored twice, Jason Spezza had three points, and Martin Gerber won the battle of backup goalies to lead the Ottawa Senators to another victory over the New York Islanders, 4-2 Tuesday night.

Spezza set up Heatley’s first-period goal and defenseman Joe Corvo’s man-advantage tally in the second restored Ottawa’s two-goal lead. Spezza netted his 13th goal late in the middle frame to make it 2-0 and send the Senators on the way to their fifth straight win over the Islanders.

Heatley added his 18th goal with 7:50 left to make it 4-2.

That prevented New York from extending its slim edge in the Atlantic Division. The Islanders are on top of New Jersey and the New York Rangers by one point and haven’t owned a bigger advantage in the division since they had a two-point lead on Feb. 18, 1990.

Thrashers 5, Leafs 2

TORONTO – Vyacheslav Kozlov scored two of Atlanta’s five goals in the third period, and the Thrashers rallied for a season-high fifth straight win beating the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-2 Tuesday night.

Marian Hossa scored his league-leading 21st goal. Glen Metropolit also scored and had two assists for the Thrashers, who rallied after trailing 2-0.

Darcy Tucker and Michael Peca scored for the Maple Leafs, who have lost five straight. Fans booed the Maple Leafs off the ice.

Metropolit tipped a shot in front of the net at 3:56 of the third. After Toronto defenseman Hal Gill turned the puck over the blue line, Kozlov tied it at 2 with a slapshot at 7:14 of the third. s.

Minnesota 3, Chicago 2

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Pierre Marc-Bouchard scored the winning goal in a shootout to carry the Wild to a 3-2 victory over the Blackhawks on Tuesday night, snapping a four-game losing streak.

Brian Rolston and Todd White also scored for the Wild and goalie Manny Fernandez stopped 27 shots for his first victory since Nov. 11.

The loss ended Chicago’s three-game winning streak and prevented Denis Savard from becoming the first Blackhawks coach to win his first four games. Savard replaced Trent Yawney as head coach last week and was rewarded for his strong start with a contract extension through the 2007-08 season earlier in the day.

Jackets 3, Avalanche 0

DENVER – Fredrik Norrena got his second straight shutout and the Columbus Blue Jackets won in Denver for the first time in franchise history, a 3-0 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night.

Fredrik Norrena finished with 42 saves, including 21 in a barrage in the second period. Norrena stopped 21 shots in a 4-0 win over Edmonton on Saturday night.

Fredrik Modin scored with 4.3 seconds left in the second period. Jason Chimera and Anson Carter staked Columbus to an early lead with goals within 2:38 of each other in the first period.

Red Wings 5, Blues 1

ST. LOUIS – Pavel Datsyuk got his first goal in 16 games and added an assist and the Detoit Red Wings spoiled the retirement of Brett Hull’s jersey with a 5-1 victory over the Blues on Tuesday night.

The pre-game ceremony marking the retirement of the No. 16 sweater Hull wore during his 11 years in St. Louis delayed the start by nearly an hour.

But unlike when the Blues ended a franchise-record 13-game losing streak with a victory over Edmonton following the retirement of Al MacInnis’s number last season, St. Louis got no such carry-over effect Tuesday in dropping its fifth consecutive game.

The Blues have not won since earning a 3-2 shootout victory Nov. 24 at Detroit.

Datsyuk assisted on Henrik Zetterberg’s team-leading ninth goal 2:34 into the game and gave the Red Wings a 2-0 lead with his fourth goal about 2 minutes later. Daniel Cleary made it three goals on 12 shots later in the first period, chasing goalie Manny Legace.


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