BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -Patrick Lalime stopped the first 36 shots he faced and benefited from Buffalo's best offensive output in three weeks, leading the Sabres to a 5-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night.
Derek Roy and Paul Gaustad scored goals two each, and Jaroslav Spacek had a goal and assist. Thomas Vanek returned to the Sabres after missing nine games because of a broken jaw. Vanek didn't figure into the scoring, but his presence helped the Sabres score their most goals since a 6-5 win against San Jose on Feb. 13.
Thomas Plekanec spoiled Lalime's shutout bid with 1:06 remaining.
Buffalo tied Carolina for ninth place in the Eastern Conference, two points behind Pittsburgh and the New York Rangers for the final two playoff spots.
DENVER (AP) - Ty Conklin made 25 saves, and Valtteri Filppula, Johan Franzen and Kris Draper scored to help Detroit take the overall NHL lead.
The Red Wings played without goal leader Marian Hossa, sidelined by a sore neck and knee. Hossa was injured Wednesday night in St. Louis when he slammed into the end boards and had to be carried off the ice on a gurney.
The Stanley Cup champion Red Wings won for the fourth time in five games to reach 94 points, one more than San Jose and Eastern Conference-leading Boston.
John-Michael Liles and Milan Hejduk scored for Colorado. The Avalanche have lost six straight, matching the longest skid since the team moved to Denver in 1995-96.