BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Darren Helm scored the go-ahead goal 3:33 into the third period to inch the Detroit Red Wings closer to clinching a playoff berth with a 4-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night.
Brendan Smith, David Legwand and Pavel Datsyuk, into an empty net, also scored for the Red Wings, and Jimmy Howard made 25 saves. Detroit (38-27-14) moved within a point of securing one of the Eastern Conference's two wild-card playoff spots, and extending its run of postseason berths to 23 straight seasons.
The win was the 414th for Red Wings coach Mike Babcock, who moved one ahead of Jack Adams for first on the franchise list.
Zemgus Girgensons scored both goals for the Sabres (21-49-9), who are already guaranteed of finishing in last place once the season ends on Sunday.