Owen Tippett scored three goals to lift the host Philadelphia Flyers to a dominant 5-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Friday.
Joel Farabee and James van Riemsdyk each added one goal for the Flyers (25-32-11, 61 points), who snapped a four-game losing streak.
Kevin Hayes and Tony DeAngelo each had two assists for the Flyers. Goaltender Carter Hart made 36 saves.
Victor Olofsson scored two goals for the Sabres (33-29-6, 72 points), who lost their second straight. Sabres goaltender Craig Anderson stopped 17 shots.
The Sabres entered the night six points behind the New York Islanders for the second wild-card spot. Buffalo is attempting to snap an 11-year streak of missing the playoffs.
Buffalo came out aggressive in the third period and closed within 4-1 when Olofsson scored on the power play at 2:27.
The Flyers responded to go back ahead by four goals when Tippett notched his first career hat trick at 5:33 for a 5-1 lead. Tippett scored on the backhand and the hats came pouring down on the ice from the stands.
Olofsson’s second power-play goal came with just 0.4 seconds remaining with the game already decided.
Tippett skated in all alone and fired a backhand shot at 12:36 of the first period, which was stopped by Anderson. Just 23 seconds later, Buffalo’s Jordan Greenway had a terrific scoring chance, but his backhand shot was stopped by Hart.
The Flyers went ahead 1-0 at 15:10 when Tippett ripped a wrist shot on the power play into the upper corner of the net.
Philadelphia took a 2-0 advantage at 3:53 of the second period when Farabee connected.
Tippett’s second goal, coming at 13:14 for his 20th of the season, gave the Flyers a 3-0 advantage.
Philadelphia kept the pressure on and took a 4-0 lead at 18:21 following van Riemsdyk’s tap-in.
The Sabres appeared to express their frustration as several players became entangled with the Flyers by the boards with 50.5 seconds remaining. Riley Stillman and Zemgus Girgensons were noticeably upset.