BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) _ Pierre Turgeon and Rick Vaive assisted on each other's goals as the Buffalo Sabres defeated the Quebec Nordiques 5-3 Sunday night.

Ken Priestlay, Benoit Hogue and Christian Ruuttu were the other scorers for the Sabres, who put 40 shots on Quebec goalie Scott Gordon. Ken McRae, Jeff Jackson and Peter Stastny scored for Quebec.

With 81 points, Buffalo has the second-highest point total in the NHL. Unfortunately for the Sabres, the league's point leader is Adams Division rival Boston, which has a six-point lead over second place Buffalo in the division. The Bruins and the Sabres each have 12 games left in the regular season.

Buffalo, 30-1-1 when they've scored four or more goals, took a 4-0 lead early in the second period before the Nordiques finally scored.

The Sabres went up 3-0 in a first period during which they put 19 shots on Gordon.

Priestlay made it 1-0 4:16 into the game, but the work on the goal was performed by defenseman Uwe Krupp, who skated around three Nordiques before sending a pass to the wide-open Priestlay.

A little more than a minute later, Buffalo took a two-goal lead when Hogue ripped a 30-foot slapshot from the top of the faceoff circle just inside the far post.

Alexander Mogilny started a three-way passing play that ended when Ruuttu tipped in a pass at the side of the crease to make it 3-0 at 12:16.

Turgeon made it a four-goal lead 39 seconds into the second period when he pulled a rebound out from under Gordon and slipped the puck past the prone goalie.

Quebec finally scored at 56 seconds of the middle period, when McRae slid a rebound under fallen Buffalo goalie Daren Puppa.

Jackson made it 4-2 with a deflection 4:33 into the final period. Vaive got that one back for Buffalo three minutes later and Stastny closed out the scoring with a power-play goal at 10:40.

For the second night in a row against the Nordiques, the Sabres let up after taking a comfortable lead.

Unlike Saturday, when Buffalo blew a 3-1 lead and had to settle for a 3-3 tie, the Sabres held on Sunday after assuming a 4-0 lead.

''I think they can play better than they showed the last two games,'' said Quebec coach Michel Bergeron. ''We're out of the playoffs, but they didn't show too much emotion. So they were ready to beat us last night and tonight.''

Buffalo coach Rick Dudley agreed and said he's not happy that his team is getting lazy after they take a big lead.

''That's a disturbing thing,'' said Dudley. ''We don't have the killer instinct at the moment. I'd like to see us say, 'Let's bury these guys when we get up 4-0.' It doesn't matter whether you're playing Quebec or Boston; you still have to have that on a consistent basis.''

Vaive said the Sabres had that killer instinct earlier in the year and that it can be reclaimed. ''I think we're capable of doing it; it's just a mental thing,'' he said. ''We've got to be prepared for those kinds of games and really go after them.''