Detroit Red Wings (37-27-14) at Buffalo Sabres (21-48-9), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Detroit Red Wings hope to return to the win column
on Tuesday when the playoff-hopeful club visits the Buffalo Sabres for a clash
at First Niagara Center.
Detroit is in position to secure its 23rd straight playoff berth, as it
currently sits in the first of two wild card spots in the Eastern Conference.
The Red Wings, who last missed the postseason in 1990, are one point ahead of
Columbus and four in front of New Jersey and Toronto. The Blue Jackets host
Phoenix on Tuesday, while the Devils and Maple Leafs are idle.
The Red Wings had won four straight before losing Saturday's 5-3 decision in
Montreal. Detroit rallied from a 3-0 deficit to even the score in the third
period, but the Canadiens recovered to win it in regulation.
Detroit used third-period goals from Pavel Datsyuk, Justin Abdelkader and
Niklas Kronwall to tie the contest, but Brian Gionta restored Montreal's lead
with 6:47 left and Alex Galchenyuk added an insurance tally a little over two
Kronwall also added an assist in the loss, while Johan Franzen notched a pair
of helpers. Meanwhile, Jonas Gustavsson only stopped 21 of the 26 shots he
"The puck went in our net way too often. Obviously, you can't give up five on
the road and expect to win," said Detroit head coach Mike Babcock.
Detroit fell to 19-15-4 as the guest and is playing the middle portion of a
three-game road trip tonight. The Red Wings will complete the swing Wednesday
night at Pittsburgh.
Tuesday's game marks an excellent chance for Detroit to get back on track, as
the Red Wings have won seven straight and 10 of their last 11 games against
Buffalo. The Sabres also have lost three in a row and six of their past seven
home tests against Detroit.
The Sabres are assured of finishing last in the NHL standings and enter
Tuesday having dropped three straight, seven of eight and 14 of their last 16
Buffalo was dealt a 5-2 loss Sunday night in Philadelphia. Cody Hodgson and
Mike Weber each supplied a goal, while Nathan Lieuwen stopped 32 shots for the
"We still have four games left to play but we just got out-battled, out-
competed," Hodgson admitted. "I think when you watch the game, you can see
that. As a team and individuals we can all improve."
Buffalo defenseman Chad Ruhwedel suffered a concussion after taking an elbow
to the head from Philadelphia's Zac Rinaldo, who was suspended four games for
Lieuwen also suffered a concussion in Sunday's game and both he and Ruhwedel
will sit out Buffalo's final week of the season.
The Sabres are playing their penultimate home game of the season on Tuesday
and are just 13-20-6 in Western New York. Next up for Buffalo is a two-game
road trip, which will be followed by the club's season-ending home game Sunday
against the New York Islanders.
04/08 10:44:54 ET
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