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Briere, Sabres dust Thrashers

Eastern leaders win in shootout

Daniel Briere took care of the scoring. Ryan Miller thwarted two of the league's most dangerous players in the shootout.

Briere had two goals in regulation and another in the shootout, leading the Buffalo Sabres to a 4-3 win in Atlanta last night.

"He's kind of the main guy for them," Atlanta goalie Kari Lehtonen said. "You're always looking to see where he is on the ice. I try to keep one eye on him to see where he goes."

The Eastern Conference-leading Sabres, winning for just the fifth time in 12 games, scored all three of their regulation goals on the power play. The Sabres took the shootout 2-0, with Ales Kotalik scoring the deciding goal.

Miller stopped Slava Kozlov and Marian Hossa in the shootout. Going in, Kozlov was 7 of 8 going one-on-one, while Hossa was 5 of 7.

Scott Mellanby scored the tying goal for Atlanta with 8:09 left in regulation, but the Sabres were able to knock off one of their top challengers in the East.

The Thrashers, first in the Southeast Division, dropped 9 points behind Buffalo in the conference standings with their third straight loss.

Miller made 27 saves, including a brilliant stop in the final seconds of overtime. Kozlov swept in on a breakaway and picked out the top right corner, but Miller got enough of his glove on the shot to send it over the crossbar.

In the shootout, Miller blocked Kozlov's backhander, then turned aside a wrist shot by Hossa.

Blackhawks 3, Flames 2 -- Martin Havlat scored twice in the final three minutes and again in the shootout as Chicago rallied for a victory in Calgary.

Calgary led, 2-0, until the final four minutes of the game, when three straight minor penalties the Flames led to a pair of power-play goals by Havlat to tie it.

On a two-man advantage, Havlat's long shot from the point beat Miikka Kiprusoff at 17:17 to make it 2-1. With goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin pulled for an extra skater, the Blackhawks tied it with 28 seconds left when Havlat banged home a rebound.

Stars 4, Wild 2 -- Sergei Zubov scored a tiebreaking goal on the power play with 4:41 left in the third period as Dallas overcame a two-goal deficit to beat visiting Minnesota.

Stu Barnes added his ninth goal of the season with 3:03 left to stretch the Stars' lead to 4-2.

Rookie goalie Mike Smith stopped all 15 shots he faced after taking over for starter Marty Turco, who allowed two goals in Minnesota's first seven shots.

Ducks 7, Sharks 4 -- Travis Moen's second goal capped Anaheim's four-goal second period, as the visiting Ducks won the front half of a key home-and-home series with San Jose.

Rob Niedermayer had a goal and two assists and Chris Pronger also assisted on two goals for the Ducks, who had their full roster healthy for the first time since December.

Coyotes 3, Blue Jackets 0 -- Curtis Joseph made 28 saves for his 50th career shutout as Phoenix won in Columbus.

Steve Reinprecht, Shane Doan, and Mike Zigomanis scored for Phoenix, while the Blue Jackets were shut out for the 12th time, setting a franchise season record.

Lightning 3, Kings 2 -- Vincent Lecavalier scored his 34th goal and connected in the shootout, leading host Tampa Bay past Los Angeles.

Lecavalier and Blair Jones scored first-period goals for the Lightning, who have won 11 of 13. Tampa Bay took the shootout, 3-1.

Avalanche 5, Panthers 4 -- Joe Sakic scored a power-play goal 25 seconds into overtime, set up by Paul Stastny from behind the net, as Colorado rallied past visiting Florida.

Stastny tied the score with 36.7 seconds remaining and the Avalanche skating 6 on 3.

Hurricanes 2, Canadiens 1 -- Frantisek Kaberle scored midway through the third period in his first game after offseason shoulder surgery, helping visiting Carolina end a four-game losing streak with a win over Montreal.

Penguins 4, Predators 1 -- Mark Recchi scored and set up rookie Evgeni Malkin for the go-ahead goal, and host Pittsburgh beat Nashville behind another strong game by goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (25 saves).

Maple Leafs 2, Blues 1 -- Alex Steen snapped a tie late in the second period and Andrew Raycroft (19 saves) made it stand up, helping Toronto win in St. Louis.

Canucks 5, Oilers 2 -- Daniel Sedin scored a career-high three goals and had two assists, while twin Henrik added four assists as Vancouver won in Edmonton.

Devils 3, Rangers 2 -- Brian Gionta scored the lone shootout goal and Martin Brodeur stopped all three New York attempts to lead host New Jersey.

New York Rangers general manager Glen Sather said he is not ready to surrender his job to Mark Messier. Messier caught many in the organization off guard Monday by telling the Toronto Sun he planned to talk to Sather about taking his job when he left the team.

Sather had given no indication he was ready to leave.

"Who knows in sports business, but I don't have any plans to do anything immediately," Sather said last night before the Rangers lost to the Devils in a shootout.

"I understand that Mark can make a comment basically about anything he wants to do in his future, but anything that we're going to talk about between each other is going to stay with us, at least it'll stay on my side."