The Buffalo Sabres will look to post consecutive victories for the first time in a month when they face the New York Islanders on Saturday in Elmont, N.Y.
The Sabres (34-31-6, 74 points) are coming off a 5-4 win over the visiting New Jersey Devils on Friday. The Islanders (37-27-9, 83 points) had their three-game winning streak end with a 5-4 overtime defeat against the host Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday.
The Islanders moved three points ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins and four ahead of the Florida Panthers for the top Eastern Conference wild-card spot.
The Sabres, who haven't won consecutive games since taking three straight from Feb. 23-26, moved within six points of the Penguins for the conference's final wild-card position. Buffalo also has a game in hand on Pittsburgh.
"You want to control what you can control and that's your own destiny and the games that you play," Islanders coach Lane Lambert said. "But when you're able to get some help, it's definitely nice -- especially with how tight the standings are with the time we have left."
The Sabres ended a four-game losing streak and earned just their third victory in the past 13 games (3-8-2) by getting two goals and an assist from Alex Tuch against the Devils.
Dylan Cozens and Jack Quinn each had a goal and an assist, JJ Peterka added two assists and Tage Thompson scored his 44th goal of the season, the most by a Sabre in a season since Alexander Mogilny netted 76 and Pat LaFontaine added 53 in 1992-93.
"I knew things were good going in when Tuch walked in the building and told me to smile," Sabres coach Don Granato said. "That, to me, behind that, told me right away he's finally feeling good about his game."
Tuch scored twice in the second period to push the lead to 5-2 before the Devils cut the gap to 5-4 at the 9:33 mark of the third period. But Sabres goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (16-11-4, 3.63 GAA) finished with 27 saves to earn his first victory in his past seven starts.
"I liked a lot about this game," Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin said. "I thought everything kind of clicked today, finally. ... This game was really good for us. We've just gotta keep pushing and keep battling because we know what we can do and today was a good sign of a step forward."
The Islanders salvaged a point against the Blue Jackets by scoring twice in the third period. Goals by Kyle Palmieri and Brock Nelson sent the game into overtime tied at 4, but Columbus' Boone Jenner ended the contest just 40 seconds into the extra session.
Ilya Sorokin (26-19-7, 2.41 GAA) made 22 saves for the Islanders, who received two goals by Nelson, while Palmieri had a goal and an assist and Zach Parise also found the back of the net.
The Sabres and Islanders split their previous two meetings this season.
Cozens scored 12 seconds into overtime to lift Buffalo to a 3-2 win on home ice on Jan. 19.
The Islanders returned the favor on their home ice by getting two third-period goals, including Hudson Fasching's game-winner at the 7:37 mark, in a 3-2 win against the Sabres on March 7.
--Field Level Media