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Saturday, March 13th (All times eastern)

Buffalo Sabres (36-21-9) at Detroit Red Wings (32-23-12), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - Finally healthy, the Red Wings' offense has looked like a dangerous unit that could give teams trouble in the playoffs. However, Detroit still needs to get there first.

The Red Wings will try to leap into the eighth spot in the Western Conference this evening at Joe Louis Arena against a Buffalo Sabres squad that will look to rebound after having a three-game winning streak snapped.

The Red Wings have been strong as of late, winning five of their last seven games. However, Detroit is still outside of the playoff picture as it currently holds the ninth spot in the Western Conference. The Red Wings are a point back of the Flames for the eighth spot in the conference, but Calgary is idle today.

Detroit has scored four or more goals in four of its last seven games, including on Thursday when it bested Minnesota by a 5-1 score.

Johan Franzen had a pair of goals and Henrik Zetterberg chipped in with a goal and two assists. Zetterberg notched his first three-point contest since posting five versus Anaheim on November 14, while Franzen scored for the seventh time in just 12 games this year.

Zetterberg has never scored versus Buffalo, posting three assists in six career games against them.

Tomas Holmstrom added a goal and an assist versus the Wild and Andrew Miller, brother of Buffalo netminder Ryan, also scored. Jimmy Howard ended with 21 saves.

"It was nice. We have to play with more desperation," Howard said. "That's how we need to play for the rest of the season."

Howard has never started versus the Sabres but did stop 14-of-15 shots faced in relief of Chris Osgood in an Oct. 13 meeting that ended in a 6-2 Sabres win. That victory for the Sabres snapped a three-game series losing streak. Buffalo has won just once in its last 10 trips to Detroit, however, and was handed a 3-1 defeat at Joe Louis Arena on Jan. 10, 2009 in its last trip there.

Thomas Vanek scored twice during a four-goal surge in the second period of the October victory, while Ryan Miller made 23 saves in net. That had been Vanek's only multi-goal game this season until he scored twice in last night's 3-2 setback to Minnesota. Vanek leads Buffalo with 22 goals after posting 40 a season ago.

Jason Pominville assisted on both tallies and Patrick Lalime made 30 saves in the start over Miller.

"A thousand chances aren't going to win games," said Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff. "We like the number of shots, but there are some situations where they have to turn them into goals. Our key players have to do a better job of turning those shots into goals."

Miller should get the start tonight and he is 2-5-0 with a 3.58 GAA in seven career starts versus the Sabres.

Buffalo remained two points up on Ottawa for first place in the Northeast Division with two games in hand. The Sabres start a five-game road trip tonight but have lost eight of their last nine as the guest.

03/13 10:44:56 ET


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