TORONTO -- The Detroit Red Wings moved into third place in the Atlantic Division by holding off the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 at Air Canada Centre on Saturday.
The Red Wings (40-28-11) won for the second time in as many nights to move one point ahead of the Boston Bruins, who have two games in hand. Detroit is attempting to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the 25th consecutive season.
Brad Richards and Mike Green scored in the first period for Detroit, and defenseman Kyle Quincey's goal 3:59 into the third period proved to be the game-winner. Jimmy Howard made 32 saves.
Video: DET@TOR: Richards wrists the puck past Sparks
"Getting the two points is all that matters," said Howard, who played in the Red Wings' 3-2 home win against the Minnesota Wild on Friday. "At this point in the season we have to just continue to go out there and find a way to get two points."
The Red Wings have tightened up defensively, and captain Henrik Zetterberg said that goes a long way toward putting the team in a position to make the playoffs. After allowing 22 goals in a five-game stretch from March 22 to April 1, the Red Wings gave up four in their back-to-back wins.
"I think we are playing a little tighter," Zetterberg said. "The pucks that have been getting through, our goalies have been there for us making the stops. I think everyone is involved."
Video: DET@TOR: Quincey drills the puck past Sparks
The Red Wings have played 46 games decided by one goal; they've won 27. Howard said they've grown accustomed to being in close games.
"You don't get nervous towards the end of the game," Howard said. "Being in a lot of them, you know you can come out on top. It's just good right now that we are getting points."
The Red Wings are off until they host the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday before visiting Boston on Thursday.
Rookie William Nylander had a goal and an assist for Toronto (28-39-11), which has home games Monday against the Florida Panthers and Wednesday against the Columbus Blue Jackets before playing its final two games on the road.
"It was a real defensive game, but we knew it was going to be like that," Toronto forward PA Parenteau said. "They weren't going to give us anything offensively because they can't afford to lose any games."
Video: DET@TOR: Nylander cuts the deficit to one
The Red Wings took a 1-0 lead at 8:48 of the first period when Richards scored on the power play. With Toronto defenseman Jake Gardiner off for tripping, Richards beat Maple Leafs goaltender Garret Sparks with a wrist shot from the top of the right circle for his 10th of the season.
Green made it 2-0 at 17:19 when his slap shot from the right point beat Sparks, who was being screened by Toronto's Tobias Lindberg and Detroit's Anthony Mantha.
Toronto's Colin Greening cut the deficit to 2-1 at 2:44 of the second period. Nylander got the puck behind the Red Wings' net, skated to the front and around the entire Detroit zone with Quincey on his trail. When Nylander got to the other side of the net, he sent a pass in front that hit Detroit defenseman Danny DeKeyser and bounced to Greening, who stuffed it past Howard for his fourth goal of the season.
Video: DET@TOR: Green blasts a slap shot past Sparks
Quincey put Detroit ahead 3-1 when he beat Sparks from the high slot with a 40-foot slap shot. Toronto defenseman Andrew Campbell poked the puck away from Detroit center Darren Helm, but it went right to Quincey, who scored his third goal of the season.
Nylander finished off a cross-ice pass by Nazem Kadri with 1:07 remaining and Sparks on the bench for an extra skater. It was his fifth goal in 18 games since being recalled from the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League.
Though Toronto made it close at the end, the Red Wings left with what they came for.
"It was two points," Zetterberg said. "That's what we wanted tonight. We got two big points yesterday and we wanted to finish off the week with a win here and we did."
Video: DET@TOR: Howard makes a pair of nice saves
Howard was impressed with the Maple Leafs.
"They don't stop," Howard said. "They are a typical [Mike] Babcock team. They are going to play until the final buzzer no matter what the score is. They keep on coming and you just have to find a way to play offense against them."
Babcock, who spent the past 10 seasons coaching Detroit before joining the Maple Leafs, said the inability to cash in on quality scoring chances made the difference.
"We had our opportunities and didn't capitalize on them," Babcock said. "In the end we had some good looks and didn't score. They found a way to get it done. They have a good hockey team obviously. A lot of good talent on their team."
Referee Greg Kimmerly, a Toronto native, worked his final NHL game.
Video: Red Wings edge Maple Leafs, 3-2