After a run of just one win in five league games – including a thrashing at promotion rival Villa – Wolves rediscovered their groove against struggling Reading.
Matt Doherty's brace and a goal from Benik Afobe kept Wolves three points clear of Cardiff at the summit, the Welsh club also winning – 3-1 at Brentford.
Both Wolves and Cardiff would have been encouraged by Villa's shock defeat at home to QPR, meanwhile, as the visitor blew Bruce's in-form outfit away.
A rare Jake Bidwell strike – his first in the league for QPR – secured a 2-0 lead that Luke Freeman stretched to three before James Chester's late consolation.
Nigel Adkins's Hull was the big winner at the bottom, building on its dramatic success at home to Norwich City with a 3-0 victory at Ipswich Town.
Efforts from Markus Henriksen, Harry Wilson and Jarrod Bowen have the Humberside club now nine points clear of the drop zone as it looks to avert a second consecutive relegation.
Things are not looking quite so rosy for Barnsley, which remain outside the bottom three but only by three points after Norwich's Josh Murphy cancelled out another Oliver McBurnie goal in a 1-1 stalemate.
Burton is in real trouble, having lost 2-0 at Sheffield United. The Blades kept their play-off hopes alive through Enda Stevens and starlet David Brooks.