The Detroit Red Wings took the overall NHL lead with a 3-2 win over the struggling Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday.
The win moved the defending Stanley Cup champions to 94 points, one ahead of the Boston Bruins and San Jose Sharks, both to play on Thursday.
Ty Conklin made 25 saves, filling in for regular goalie Marian Hossa, who had a sore neck and knee after slamming into the boards in St. Louis on Tuesday.
Valtteri Filppula, Johan Franzen and Kris Draper scored for Detroit. The Red Wings played without goal leader Marian Hossa, sidelined by a sore neck and knee.
Colorado, last in the Western Conference, dropped its sixth straight game, matching the longest skid since the team relocated to Denver in 1995-96. The last time the Avalanche dropped six in a row was late in the 1998 season when they were on their way to wrapping up a division title.
John-Michael Liles and Milan Hejduk scored for Colorado.
The Avalanche pulled their goalie in the last minute, but couldn't tie the game as Conklin made a flurry of late saves.
Sabres 5, Candiens 1
In Buffalo, New York, Buffalo moved within two points of the provisional last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference by cruising past Montreal.
Goalie Patrick Lalime stopped the first 36 shots he faced and benefited from Buffalo's highest score for three weeks.
Derek Roy and Paul Gaustad scored two goals each for the Sabres, and Jaroslav Spacek had a goal and assist.
Montreal's Thomas Plekanec spoiled Lalime's shutout bid with just over a minute remaining.