Although the Chicago Blackhawks have routed several opponents on the season, coach Joel Quenneville was excited about the team's latest effort, as they had to grind out a win.
The Blackhawks look to build off that victory and continue their dominance at the United Center on Wednesday when they host the Buffalo Sabres.
Chicago (23-10-7) is amongst the leaders in goal differential (+40), and has had no trouble winning games in a blowout fashion. It's the tight games that has caused problems.
After losing back-to-back close games on the road, the Blackhawks completed a home-and-home series with Nashville with a 3-1 win on Sunday at the United Center. Chicago led by just a goal until Martin Havlat scored his 12th of the season on a empty netter with 10 seconds remaining.
"It was a better all-around effort," Quenneville said. "It was nice winning a tight game. We had to keep doing the little things right and got rewarded."
Dustin Byfuglien and Dave Bolland also scored for the Blackhawks, who had been limited to one goal in each of their previous two games.
"We accomplished what we needed to," said goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin, who has allowed two goals or fewer in seven of hits last eight appearances. "We're not going to score four, five goals in every one. We have to know how to win when we score two."
Khabibulin had another stellar performance in Chicago, as he stopped 26 shots to improve to 7-0-3 with a 1.87 goals-against average at home on the season.
The Blackhawks have outscored their opponents 29-8 in winning their last seven games at the United Center since a 6-5 loss to San Jose on Nov. 16 - their only regulation loss there all season. Chicago, which lost to Detroit 6-4 at Wrigley Field on New Year's Day, is 13-2-4 at home overall.
The Sabres (21-16-5) are likely unfazed by Chicago's home success.
Despite a 3-1 loss in Detroit on Saturday, Buffalo is 5-2-1 on the road since Dec. 6. The Sabres are also among the league leaders in power-play percentage on the road (24.3) and penalty killing percentage on the road (89.9).
"We've had some good games on the road. We have to keep that up, we have to go into another team's building and stick to a game plan," goalie Ryan Miller said. "You have to be patient, you have to let the other team try to entertain the crowd, and we have to stick to the game plan and stick together."
Buffalo scored 14 goals in winning its first four games of January, but only Derek Roy could find the back of the net against the Red Wings.
Roy, who is second on the Sabres with 16 goals, has scored in each of his last three games and has five goals and four assists during a five-game point streak.
Miller has been under a lot of pressure lately, making 45 saves Saturday after stopping 43 shots in Friday's 2-1 shootout win over the New York Rangers. He made 26 saves in last season's 3-1 win over the Blackhawks, and is 2-0-0 with a 1.00 GAA all-time versus them.
Chicago's Patrick Kane, who grew up in Buffalo, scored the Blackhawks' lone goal last season.
The Blackhawks have three losses and a tie since their last win over the Sabres, a 3-0 decision on Oct. 13, 2002.