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Strong third period sends Red Wings past Sabres
Buffalo, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Darren Helm, David Legwand and Pavel Datsyuk scored third-period goals, and Detroit walked away with a 4-2 decision over Buffalo on Tuesday.
Brendan Smith also tallied for the Red Wings, winners in five of their last six and who maintained a one-point edge over Columbus for the first wild-card slot in the East after the Jackets beat Phoenix in overtime.
Jimmy Howard backed up his offense with 25 saves.
Detroit head coach Mike Babcock won his 414th game with the franchise, vaulting him over Jack Adams for tops on the all-time list.
Zemgus Girgensons recorded both goals and Cody Hodgson assisted twice for the Sabres, who have lost four in a row and eight of nine. Matt Hackett stopped 33 shots.
Helm put Detroit on top by a 2-1 margin, taking a loose puck and lifting it over a fallen Hackett at 3:33 of the third period.
Legwand provided an insurance tally, beating Hackett through the pads with 4:14 to play, but Girgensons cut the Sabres' deficit to 3-2 just over two minutes later.
Buffalo went with an extra skater for the final minute, and Datsyuk hit the empty net with less than five seconds remaining.
Girgensons snapped the scoreless deadlock at 1:31 of the second period, when a shot from Hodgson caromed off his body in front and eluded Howard.
Smith pulled the Wings even on a wrister from the left circle off a cross-ice dish from Johan Franzen to cap a rush at 12:28.
Adams won 413 games for the Detroit franchise from 1927-47 ... Prior to the contest, the Sabres announced that defenseman Chad Ruhwedel and goaltender Nathan Lieuwen will miss the remainder of the season due to suffering concussions in Sunday's loss at Philadelphia.
04/08 22:18:22 ET