BUFFALO, N.Y. - Brett Sterling scored the deciding goal in a shootout hours after he was called up from the minors, lifting the Atlanta Thrashers to a 4-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night.
Todd White forced overtime for Atlanta, scoring with 3.5 seconds remaining in regulation. He swatted in a rebound after Buffalo goalie Patrick Lalime could not control Ron Hainsey's slapshot from the high slot.
Slava Kozlov and Marty Reasoner also scored for Atlanta, which matched a season-best with its fifth straight win.
Buffalo, despite losing three of its last four games, still moved within two points of the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot.
Derek Roy had a goal and an assist in a 3:12 span in the second period for the Sabres. Daniel Paille and Maxim Afinogenov also scored for the Sabres, and Patrick Lalime made 29 saves.
Kari Lehtonen stopped 34 shots for Atlanta, who played without star left wing Ilya Kovalychuk because of an upper-body injury. He was hurt Thursday night a 4-3 overtime win at Edmonton.
Kozlov opened the scoring on a power-play goal with 26 seconds to go in the first period. He banged in a rebound after Lalime stopped an initial shot by Zach Bogosian.
In the second period, Roy fed Paille for a tying goal with 6:41 remaining. Roy chipped a loose puck into the offensive zone and backhanded a pass from the right corner to the charging Paille for a tip-in.
Roy then scored with 3:29 to go, putting Buffalo on top for good as his slapshot from the blue-line was tipped by Atlanta defenceman Boris Valabik. Afinogenov made it 3-1 before the period's end by banging in a pass from Thomas Vanek.
Reasoner scored a short-handed goal with 6:34 remaining to get Atlanta to within one goal.
Lalime, making his ninth straight start, is now 3-4-2 since taking over for injured starter Ryan Miller.
Atlanta's other five-game winning streak this season was done between Nov. 2-14.
Notes: All three games of the season series have been decided in overtime or shootouts. ... Kovalchuk, who leads Atlanta with 36 goals and 78 points, had not missed a game since last season, when he missed two straight on Feb. 1-2. ... Roy leads Buffalo with 15 multi-point games. ... Kozlov has played in 189 straight games. He can tie Bobby Holik's team record of 190 on Monday against Washington. ... Six of Buffalo's 13 remaining games will be at home.