NHL: Winnipeg 3, Buffalo 1

March 5, 2012 at 11:33 PM

WINNIPEG, Manitoba, March 5 (UPI) -- Third-period goals by Blake Wheeler and Chris Thorburn Monday lifted Winnipeg to a 3-1 win over Buffalo in a battle of playoff contenders.

Both the Jets and Sabres are fighting for one of the final playoff berths in the Eastern Conference and the clutch victory enhanced Winnipeg's hopes of a post-season position.

The Jets are in the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 72 points, three ahead of Washington, four ahead of Tampa Bay and Buffalo and five in front of Toronto.

Andrew Ladd gave Winnipeg the lead with 6:15 to go in the first period and the Sabres tied it on Corey Tropp's goal with only 35 seconds remaining in the middle stanza.

Wheeler delivered the tiebreaking goal 8:02 into the third and Thorburn tallied less than 3 minutes later.

Ondrej Pavelec picked up the win by making 23 saves. Ryan Miller stopped 31 shots for the Sabres, who had a three-game winning streak snapped.

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