DALLAS -- Jake Oettinger made 19 saves in his eighth straight win, and the Dallas Stars maintained their lead in the Central Division with a 3-2 win against the Buffalo Sabres at American Airlines Center on Tuesday.

Joe Pavelski scored the go-ahead goal in the second period, and Thomas Harley had two assists for Dallas (50-20-9), which is 15-3-0 in its past 18 games.

The Stars lead the Colorado Avalanche, who defeated the Minnesota Wild 5-2 on Tuesday, by five points for first in the Central.

“They’re a dangerous team when you start turning the puck over a little bit, which we got into that trouble a little bit here and there. As the game went on, we got better,” Pavelski said. “When there was a breakdown or something there, it felt like somebody was in the area helping out, supporting. The support was pretty good, I think. The commitment seems to be there. That’s No. 1 for us right now, the commitment. Throw some details in there and you’re putting together a pretty good stretch of hockey.”

BUF@DAL: Pavelski nabs go-ahead goal on the tip-in

Alex Tuch and Rasmus Dahlin scored, and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made 22 saves for Buffalo (37-37-5), which was eliminated from Stanley Cup Playoff contention with the loss and a 4-2 win by the New York Islanders against the New York Rangers.

“We have the same amount of wins, if not more, than certain teams ahead of us. Those teams were able to lock it down a little better defensively and force games into overtime and get that point,” Tuch said. “Every point matters, and if you wait until too late in the season to make your push, it’s going to catch up with you at the end, and it did this year. It [stinks].”

Tuch gave Buffalo a 1-0 lead at 4:09 of the first period when he tipped in a one-timer from the point by Henri Jokiharju.

Jason Robertson tied it 1-1 at 6:15, tipping in a shot from Roope Hintz from the bottom of the right face-off circle after Hintz intercepted a clearing attempt in the offensive zone.

“They are exceptional at [deflecting pucks], as you saw tonight,” Buffalo coach Don Granato said. “Two of the three goals and the goal that was disallowed were sticks, and they get sticks on pucks. They are very good at that. That was the difference against us, their ability to tip pucks, even pucks that were going wide of the net.”

Mason Marchment had a goal waved off for Dallas because of a high stick at 6:59.

“I’ve had a lot of them this year, so I’m used to it. I thought it might have went my way, but it was close,” Marchment said. “We had one there too. Sometimes the challenge rule, it just goes the wrong way, and sometimes it goes the right way. You just kind of brush them off and keep playing.”

BUF@DAL: Robertson redirects Hintz's lob between the pipes

Buffalo then took a 2-1 lead at 9:38 of the first when Dahlin’s shot from the top of the right face-off circle squeaked five-hole on Oettinger.

“I didn’t have a lot of good things [to say] about the first. I thought the last 40 minutes we got back to our game and played much better in all areas and got rewarded for that,” Dallas coach Pete DeBoer said.

Wyatt Johnston tied it 2-2 at 3:38 of the second period with a backhand from the high slot.

Pavelski put Dallas in front 3-2 at 7:08 when he tipped in Chris Tanev's shot from the point.

“I think our depth is one thing that every night, one line kind of takes off," Robertson said. "Couple of games we’ll have all lines take off and score goals. It’s great that we have this room where we’ve got guys that can step up. Even with our defensemen too, we’ve got a lot of depth there. Obviously [Oettinger] is playing well as of late. It’s a culmination of a winning team.”

Jack Quinn appeared to tie it 3-3 at 17:07 of the second period, but the Stars challenged the play for a missed game stoppage, and a video review determined that Dahlin played the puck with a high stick prior to the goal being scored.

“We’re a young team, that shouldn’t be an excuse anymore,” Dahlin said. “We are looking ourselves in the mirror, and we have to be better. This is something we have to learn from this season and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”