After looking like they were going to bury themselves at the start of this season, the Chicago Blackhawks are suddenly thinking playoffs.

"We just have to keep plugging away. We believe we can make the playoffs and can do something once we are there," said Chicago coach Craig Hartsburg following Sunday night's 8-4 victory over the Florida Panthers.The Blackhawks moved into undisputed possession of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, two points over San Jose, with 16 games to go. They are 25-23-11 since an 0-7-0 start that matched the worst in their history, set in the 1947-48 season.

"Every point is so big for us right now," said Chicago's Eric Daze, who scored four goals to lead the rout at the Miami Arena.

Daze had two of his goals in a six-goal first period.

SABRES 3, PENGUINS 0: At Buffalo, Dominik Hasek stopped 22 shots for his 10th shutout.

HURRICANES 4, OILERS 1: Sami Kapanen got his second hat trick in as many games against Edmonton, helping Carolina to a victory that ended the Hurricanes' seven-game winless drought at home.

MIGHTY DUCKS 5, AVALANCHE 3: Rookies Frank Banham and Matt Cullen scored power-play goals and Tomas Sandstrom ended a 34-game scoring drought as Anaheim snapped a seven-game losing streak with a victory over visiting Colorado.