David Krejci scored the game-winning goal with 7:06 left to lead the Boston Bruins to a 2-0 decision over the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday.
Anton Khudobin turned away all 26 shots he faced to notch his first shutout of the season, and the second of his career.
Krejci also had an assist, while Nathan Horton chipped in with a goal and an assist for the Bruins, who stopped a two-game skid. With the win, Boston trails the Montreal Canadiens (49) by one point for first place in the Northeast Division.
"It was better, absolutely. And I think we're going to call it a step forward," Boston head coach Claude Julien said. "The effort tonight was much better. We're skating better."
Ryan Miller stopped 29 of the 31 shots faced for the Sabres, who have dropped four straight.
Horton threw a backhand on net, but it was turned away by Miller in traffic. Krejci, though, came up with the puck and easily put it in the back of the goal.
Just over three minutes later Horton lit the lamp to give the Bruins some insurance. Milan Lucic skated down the left side and dumped the puck back to Krejci, who let a backhander fly toward the net. Horton redirected the disc past Miller for his 11th goal of the season.
"I did not see him coming to be honest," Sabres defenseman Andrej Sekera said of his defense on Horton.
Buffalo wasted several opportunities to score over the final five minutes of the game. Khudobin turned away Drew Stafford's wrister and just over a minute later made a spectacular save on Tyler Myers' backhanded try.
Khudobin stoned both Jason Pominville and Christian Ehrhoff, and the Bruins didn't allow the Sabres to get another shot off the rest of the game.
Lucic picked up his 15th assist of the season ... The Bruins, who entered the contest with the top penalty kill unit in the league, held the Sabres scoreless over four power plays ... Boston will host Ottawa on Tuesday ... The Bruins outshot the Sabres 31-26 ... Buffalo will visit Pittsburgh on Tuesday.