Jochen Hecht scored twice in leading the Buffalo Sabres to a 4-3 win over the New Jersey Devils in a meeting of the Eastern Conference's top two teams on Wednesday night.
Rookie Daniel Paille and Ales Kotalik also scored, while Ryan Miller stopped 28 shots to help the Sabres extended their lead atop the East standings to seven points over the Devils, as well as idle Pittsburgh and Ottawa.
The Sabres (49-20-7) moved into a tie for first place in the NHL with Nashville, and inched to within one victory of their second consecutive 50-win season.
Scott Gomez, Paul Martin and Zach Parise scored for the Devils (45-24-8), who were coming off a 3-2 victory at the New York Islanders on Tuesday.
Martin Brodeur stopped 19 shots and remains three wins short of matching Bernie Parent's single-season record for victories. Brodeur has 44 wins, tied with Vancouver's Roberto Luongo, for the NHL lead.
Panthers 3, Thrashers 2, SO
At Sunrise, Florida, Jozef Stumpel scored the tying goal in the third period and notched the winner in the shootout for Florida.
Bryan Allen also scored for the Panthers, who are hanging on to slim playoff hopes. Florida trails eighth-place Montreal by six points, with five games left.
Flyers 5, Hurricanes 1
At Philadelphia, Martin Biron stopped a penalty shot among his 23 saves and the Flyers stymied Carolina's playoff push.
Ducks 3, Blackhawks 1
At Chicago, Rookie Dustin Penner contributed two goals and Ilya Bryzgalov made 20 saves to lead Anaheim.