Mike Babcock has achieved much in his coaching career already, but Tuesday’s milestone was yet another impressive one.

Babcock passed Jack Adams for first place in career wins with the Red Wings with victory No. 414 as the Red Wings defeated Buffalo, 4-2.

Possibly more importantly, along with Babcock’s achievement, the victory moved the Red Wings (38-27-14, 90 points) to within a point of clinching a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

They have an opportunity to do that tonight in Pittsburgh.

“The win tonight is way more important than that,” Babcock said, referring to becoming No. 1 on the career Red Wings list. “Those are the things you think about in the summer. But I’m thrilled. No. 1, in order to do that, you have to be there a long time. Jack Adams was there a long time. Tying Scotty Bowman was something because I know Scotty was there 10 years.

“For me, to be in my ninth year, it means that my kids got to go to high school in the same town and that doesn’t happen for an NHL coach very often, and for that, I’m thankful.”

With Columbus, Philadelphia and Washington all winning Tuesday, Columbus remains in the second wild-card spot, one point behind the Red Wings, while Washington (85) and idle New Jersey (84) remain the only teams mathematically capable of catching the Red Wings.

Toronto lost Tuesday in Tampa Bay, eliminating the Maple Leafs.

One single point in the three remaining games for the Red Wings clinches a 23rd consecutive playoff appearance.

“That was one good step in the right direction,” said goalie Jimmy Howard, who stopped 25 shots. “We have to find a way to get a point, or two (in Pittsburgh), and we want to play well. You want to be playing well heading into the playoffs.”

Darren Helm broke a 1-1 tie with his 12th goal, at 3:33 of the third period.

Helm dug out a big rebound by Sabres goalie Matt Hackett in the slot, patiently took a stride to his right, and fired into an open net, Hackett leaning the other way.