TAMPA, Fla. (AP) _ Dave Andreychuk and Tim Taylor turned a little trickery into a game-winning goal.
Taylor snapped a tie 52 seconds into the third period, leading the Tampa Bay Lightning past the Buffalo Sabres 3-1 Thursday night.
Andreychuk set up the goal with a special faceoff play. Instead of pulling the puck back toward the point after winning the draw against Daniel Briere, Andreychuk sent the puck forward, went around the Buffalo center and sent a pass to Taylor in the slot.
``I can't give you the secret code,'' Andreychuk said. ``We've tried it before a few times this year. It worked out pretty well for us.''
Andreychuk won 13 of 18 faceoffs. Briere lost six of eight.
``He was beating me pretty much all night on the faceoffs,'' Briere said. ``I tried to switch it up a little bit and try to be more aggressive. I'll take the blame for it. It was my fault on that goal.''
Sabres goalie Mika Noronen went down to the ice thinking Andreychuk would shoot the puck.
``He made a great pass,'' Noronen said. ``I couldn't get my feet under me. I was just trying to reach it with my stick and I just couldn't get there.''
Martin St. Louis added an empty-net goal with 10.3 seconds left for his 86th point this season, tying Brian Bradley's team record set in 1992-93.
``When you're in the same sentence as Brian Bradley, it's an honor,'' St. Louis said. ``But the most important thing is the two points.''
Cory Stillman also scored for the Eastern Conference-leading Lightning, who rebounded from a two-game losing streak to take a three-point lead over Philadelphia. The Flyers lost at home Thursday to Toronto.
Nikolai Khabibulin made 25 saves for the Lightning.
Jochen Hecht had the Buffalo goal, and Noronen stopped 23 shots.
The Sabres are four points behind the New York Islanders for the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff berth. Buffalo has played one more game than the Islanders.
``Obviously with eight games left, we've got to win six of them to make the playoffs,'' Buffalo defenseman James Patrick said. ``All we can do is control our effort.''
Noronen made three strong saves during a 30-second stretch midway through the first period. He made a sliding glove save on Vincent Lecavalier during a two-on-one before consecutive in-close stops on Andreychuk and Pavel Kubina.
Khabibulin made a point-blank save on Mike Grier during a Buffalo power play with seven minutes left in the period.
Stillman put the Lightning up 1-0 at 15:07 of the second. He scored from the low right circle off a pass from behind the net by Brad Richards.
Hecht tied it at 1 just 55 seconds later when he redirected Jeff Jillson's shot. He has four goals in three games.
``I don't know if our team can work much harder,'' Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. ``If we keep playing like that, we've got a chance to win every game we play.''