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Game Live Blog, Sabres at Red Wings

Pregame: I apologize for the lack of a game preview today. It was kind of a stressful day.

The Wings go for their 15th straight home win tonight with the same lineup they used for their 14th on Saturday, including Jimmy Howard in net.

The Sabres, who are in an eight game road loss streak, will be starting goalie Ryan Miller. This will  be the first time in 2 seasons that brothers Ryan and Drew Miller have played against each other; in the Wings’ and Sabres’ one meeting last season, Drew was a healthy scratch, and in the game at Buffalo in December, Ryan was out with a concussion.

1st period:

Darren Helm, Danny Cleary, and Drew Miller our starting forward line.

17:27 Buffalo penalty to Marc-Andre Gragnani for holding on Henrik Zetterberg.

The Sabres had the only shot on net during the Wings’ power play.

14:40 GOAL for Hank! Buffalo turns the puck over to Jiri Hudler in their own zone, Hank picks it up and his shot deflects off a defenseman’s stick past Ryan Miller.

14:10 Detroit penalty to Niklas Kronwall for holding.

Drew Miller came *this* close to buzzing his brother in the crease! Ryan got the goalie paddle up. Their mom is going to ground them.

Pavel Datsyuk has 697 career points in 706 games.

4:40 Icing call leads to a mad scramble in front of the Wings’ net but Howard comes up with some great saves!

1:49 Goal for Johan Franzen! Datsyuk with the perfect outlet pass, and Franzen zooms into the zone and puts it right past Ryan Miller.

0:17.0 GOAL for Nick Lidstrom! Datsyuk passes to Todd Bertuzzi, and Lidstrom sneaks up all alone and puts the rebound into the empty net.

Shots tied at 11 through the first.

2nd period:

15:41 GOAL for The Todd! Sabres turn over the puck to Datsyuk behind the net, Pavel makes the pass to Bertuzzi. Ryan Miller makes the first save, but The Todd gets his own rebound, spins around, and backhands it in.

And just like that, Pavel has 700 points! No waiting around on milestones for him!

15:28 GOAL for Darren Helm! Goes in on a 2 on 3 with Drew Miller. Miller makes the pass across to Helm and Ryan Miller can’t slide across in time.

Sabres pull Ryan for Jhonas Enroth. Ryan Miller has gone down the tunnel instead of to the bench.

2:11 Buffalo penalty to Ville Leino for slashing.

Shots 8-7 Detroit in the second.

3rd period:

16:28 It’s a scrum! Looks like it was started by Paul Gaustad going after Cleary. Both get roughing penalties out of it, but Cleary gets an extra two (for retaliating). Bertuzzi in the box to serve the extra penalty.

13:32 Buffalo penalty to Matt Ellis for tripping.

Miller, Helm, and Jakub Kindl getting some power play time with such a big lead.

13:10 Detroit penalty to Kindl for interference.

11:29 Shots are 8-0 for the Sabres so far in the third, but the shots aren’t of the particularly good scoring chance variety, and Howard makes the saves look easy.

9:00 Cleary gets a semi-breakaway off a turnover by Buffalo at center ice, but Enroth makes the save.

2:40 Buffalo penalty to Leino for high-sticking.

Our 3rd and 4th liners getting some power play time. The crowd at the Joe is quite happily singing “Build Me Up, Buttercup” during a stop in play. I’m thinking “Don’t Stop Believin'” is coming up.

0:54.9 Journey cued up!

Shots in the third period 9-7 Buffalo.

So… 15 consecutive home wins for a new franchise record. Pasha’s 700th career point. Howard’s 10th career shutout (5th this season).

I’d call this a convincing win, even though the Sabres really weren’t putting in much of an effort after Ryan Miller was pulled. It’s nice to see the Wings keep steady and not get sloppy with a big lead.

Up next: The Wings leave for the airport as soon as they get cleaned up and cooled down from this game, heading for Dallas to face the Stars tomorrow night at 8:30.

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Game Recap: Red Wings 4, Sabres 1

Detroit scored early and often to come out of Buffalo with a 4-1 win and extend their winning streak to seven games, their longest since the 2009-10 season.

1st period: The Wings dominated the Sabres in the first, outshooting them 18 to 8. Jakub Kindl opened the scoring with a shot from the left point while Justin Abdelkader screened goalie Jhonas Enroth. Johan Franzen added a power play goal with a patient wrist shot after taking a pass from Nicklas Lidstrom, and Valtteri Filppula made the score 3-0 by skating in unseen while the Sabres harrassed Henrik Zetterberg, who still managed to pass the puck to Filppula for the goal.

2nd period: No scoring. Buffalo pressed hard and caused Detroit to take a number of penalties. The penalty killers got a workout, but none of Buffalo’s attacks were truly dangerous, and Jimmy Howard came up big when he needed to on the Sabres’ nine shots. Detroit also had nine shots on net in the period.

3rd period: The pace of the game slowed down considerably for the third. The Wings played a bit more defensively than we’re used to seeing, but Jochen Hecht ended Howard’s shutout bid with 6:13 left in the game when he and Jason Pominville got in on a two on one rush. Pominville was able to get a pass past Lidstrom, and Hecht waited for Howard to commit to a low net save before shooting high. The Sabres pulled Enroth for an extra attacker with a couple of minutes left to play, but Pavel Datsyuk put the game out of reach with an empty net goal from 117 feet out after a blue line turnover by Christian Ehrhoff.

Notes: Buffalo’s Nathan Gerbe had to leave the game in the third period after a cut to the face from the skate blade of a falling teammate. Bill Roose reports on Twitter that it appears to have cut Gerbe’s upper lip and one of his nostrils… Justin Abdelkader also had to leave the ice in the third after taking an apparent hit to the head. No word yet on Abdelkader’s condition.

Game Preview: Red Wings at Sabres, 7:30 PM

Detroit rolls into Buffalo looking to stretch their win streak to seven games.

The Red Wings have called up Chris Conner from the Griffins. (Fabian Brunnstrom will be sent back down; his wife gave birth to a healthy baby boy today.) Conner currently leads the Griffins in scoring. Conner is not a large player (he’s listed as 5’7″, 180 pounds), but he’s known for playing a hard, gritty game that coach Mike Babcock thinks will provide the Red Wings with an edge. “I thought he played real well in exhibition… We since have decided that he can help our penalty kill and help our tenacity and help our work ethic and our speed.” Conner is slated to play on the third line with Darren Helm and Danny Cleary. Otherwise, the Wings have no lineup changes to report. Cory Emmerton and Mike Commodore will be healthy scratches. Jimmy Howard will be getting his 17th consecutive start.

The Sabres will be getting a needed boost from the return of goaltender Ryan Miller (brother of Detroit forward Drew) from a concussion suffered November 11th. Ryan isn’t quite ready to play yet, but he will be on the bench backing up Jhonas Enroth. The Sabres have gone 3-4-1 in his absence. Buffalo has not been lucky with keeping players healthy this season. Forwards Brad Boyes (right leg), Patrick Kaleta (groin), Tyler Ennis (ankle), and Cody McCormick (upper body) are all out tonight, as are defensemen Jordan Leopold (upper body), Mike Weber (upper body), and Tyler Myers (wrist).

The prospects the Sabres have been using to fill in while their regulars heal up tend to be large. They’ve been going for size in the draft the past few years. Coach Lindy Ruff has been particularly impressed by 6’3″, 229 pound Zack Kassian and 6’5″, 212 pound Brayden McNabb.

If the Red Wings keep their heads up and avoid hits as they can do so well, they’ve got a pretty high chance of keeping the win streak alive.

Let’s go, Red Wings! *clap clap clapclapclap*