DENVER (AP) — Matt Duchene had a goal and two assists, Jarome Iginla had three assists and the Colorado Avalanche kept their slim playoff hopes alive with a 5-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night.
John Mitchell scored for the second straight game, and Marc-Andre Cliche, Tyson Barrie and Brad Stuart also had goals as the Avalanche won their second in a row.
Colorado has gone 12-6-1 since losing four straight in early February, but the surge might not be enough. The Avalanche trail Winnipeg by eight points for the last wild-card slot with seven games remaining.
Semyon Varlamov had 35 saves for the Avalanche, who have won nine straight against Buffalo.
Andrej Meszaros had two goals and fellow defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen had a goal and an assist for the Sabres.
The Sabres have scored the fewest goals in the NHL this season, and the loss of leading scorer Tyler Ennis to a left shoulder injury further depleted a struggling offense. Ennis was injured in Thursday’s loss against Arizona.
Still, the Sabres found their scoring touch in the third period when Meszaros had his two goals and Ristolainen also scored in the first 8:43 of the third period to make it interesting.
Colorado struck first with two goals in a span of 32 seconds in the first. Cliche scored his second of the season at 10:47, and Mitchell made it 2-0 with his 10th.
Matt Hackett replaced Anders Lindback in goal to start the second period, but he gave up goals to Barrie and Duchene to make it 4-0. Lindback finished with 10 saves, while Hackett had seven.
The goals came quickly in the third. Meszaros broke up the shutout at 3:09, but Stuart scored at 4:48 to make it 5-2. Meszaros struck again 41 seconds later with his fifth of the season.
Ristolainen made it 5-3 with his seventh.
NOTES: The Sabres’ last win against Colorado was Dec. 4, 2005, in Denver. … Iginla’s three assists gave him 1,222 career points. He moved past Jean Beliveau for 40th in scoring. … Buffalo C Tim Schaller was recalled from Rochester of the AHL. … Barrie’s goal was the 100th point of his career.
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