DETROIT -- The Detroit Red Wings almost let a 3-0 lead with three minutes remaining slip away, but held on to defeat the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 at Joe Louis Arena on Monday.
The Red Wings remain tied with the Philadelphia Flyers for the second wild-card in the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia defeated the Winnipeg Jets 3-2 in overtime Monday and hold the tie-breaker since they have a game in hand. The Red Wings, fourth in the Atlantic Division, moved to within a point of the third-place Boston Bruins.
Dylan Larkin, Riley Sheahan and Luke Glendening scored for Detroit (38-27-11). Henrik Zetterberg had two assists and Jimmy Howard made 18 saves.
"I thought we had to be good. I thought we were. … obviously, until the very end there," Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "I thought we played a good game, we didn't give them much, didn't give up many shots, didn't give up a whole lots of chances. Obviously there's still corrections we can make with some mistakes. Overall, I thought it was good."
Video: BUF@DET: Larkin smacks rebound past Johnson
Zemgus Girgensons and Sam Reinhart scored for Buffalo (31-35-10). Casey Nelson had two assists Chad Johnson made 26 saves.
Girgensons scored with 2:50 left in the game and Reinhart scored 1:11 later with Johnson pulled to make it close.
"It's about all we played all game, the last three to five minutes," Sabres captain Brian Gionta said. "We had a tough time tonight, a tough time getting on the puck, dealing with their execution."
It was Girgenson's sixth goal and first in 24 games. Reinhart got his 22nd goal.
Video: BUF@DET: Reinhart's one-timer trims deficit to one
"Unfortunately, it took too long. … But no excuse for starting late," Reinhart said.
Glendening's empty-net goal with three minutes left made it 3-0.
Larkin's power-play goal gave Detroit a 1-0 lead with 1:28 left in the first period. He moved to the bottom of the left circle and put the rebound of Zetterberg's shot off Johnson, the inside of the right goal post and into the net. It was Larkin's 22nd goal, the most by a Red Wings rookie since Zetterberg had 22 in 2002-03.
"I think the last game (a 7-2 loss against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday) might have been a little tough for us but it was big to get the first goal tonight," Larkin said. "I think the second one was an even bigger goal. I think we do have to work on taking the lead all the way to the end and playing a full 60 minutes."
Video: BUF@DET: Howard denies Reinhart in front
Sheahan made it 2-0 9:05 into the second period. He picked up the puck in the corner to Howard's left, went behind the net, stopped and started in the bottom of the opposite circle, headed up ice, weaving his way through the three zones and beat Johnson with a wrist shot from the top of the left circle. It was Sheahan's 12th goal and third in three games.
"I just tried to get up ice and I saw a little bit of room to skate," Sheahan said. "I keep kind of just kept going and kept going and made my way through there. I didn't really mean to do that or have that in mind but I had some room and I got a good shot off so it was good."
Video: BUF@DET: Howe receives warm birthday welcome
Hockey Hall of Fame member and Detroit Red Wings legend Gordie Howe was in attendance and addressed Detroit's players before the game. With fewer than seven minutes remaining in the first period, Howe was shown on the scoreboard and got a standing ovation from the crowd, which sang "Happy Birthday". Howe will turn 88 on Thursday.
Buffalo forward Evander Kane left the game after the second period with an upper-body injury and did not return.
"He played a handful of shifts with the injury and just wasn't able to continue," Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said. "He's day-to-day right now. I doubt we'll see him in [Tuesday's] game [in Pittsburgh]."
Video: Red Wings edge Sabres, 3-2