(SportsNetwork.com) – The Detroit Red Wings aim to match their longest winning
streak of the season and grab sole possession of second place in the Atlantic
Division on Sunday night when they take on the skidding Buffalo Sabres.
The Red Wings have won three straight and five of their last six games,
putting them in a tie with the Montreal Canadiens in the division with 59
points. Tampa Bay is leading the Atlantic with 62 points and is idle on Sunday
along with the Habs.
Detroit, meanwhile, plays for a second night in a row after topping the
Nashville Predators 5-2 on Saturday. Tomas Tatar had two goals — giving him a
career high 20 on the season — and an assist to pace the rout.
Gustav Nyquist tallied a goal and an assist, Henrik Zetterberg and Kyle
Quincey each scored and Pavel Datsyuk, Riley Sheahan and Niklas Kronwall each
had two assists.
Detroit scored just 57 seconds in as part of a three-goal first period and got
34 saves by netminder Petr Mrazek.
“I thought the guys got off to a good start,” Detroit head coach Mike Babcock
said. “Then (Mrazek) was big and square.”
The Red Wings won a season-high four in a row from Nov. 24-30 and could go
with Mrazek again tonight with No. 1 Jimmy Howard out with a groin injury.
Mrazek has never faced the Sabres.
Detroit is a good bet to match its season-high win streak given it has won two
straight, 10 of 11 and 20 of its past 24 versus Buffalo. That includes six in
a row at home, with the Sabres having not won in Motown since Oct. 13, 2006.
These current Sabres don’t appear likely to reverse that trend as they come in
having lost a franchise-record 10 straight in regulation. Last night’s 4-3
setback to the Philadelphia Flyers made Buffalo the first team to lose 10 in a
row in regulation since the Pittsburgh Penguins from Jan. 6-23, 2006.
Zemgus Girgensons snapped an eight-game pointless streak with a pair of goals,
while Tyler Ennis scored and Chris Stewart posted two assists.
“If you don’t go to the net, if you don’t carry the puck and you don’t fight
your way in their, you’re not going to have a chance,” Sabres coach Ted Nolan
Michal Neuvirth allowed all four Philadelphia scores on 32 shots.
Buffalo has not won since Dec. 27 at home versus the New York Islanders and is
tied with Edmonton for the fewest points in the NHL with 31.
The Sabres also have lost 10 straight on the road since a victory in Montreal
on Nov. 29. They kick off a five-game swing tonight.