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Detroit Red Wings 7, Buffalo Sabres 2 FINAL @NHLdotcom

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -- At least for one game, it didn't matter that the Detroit Red Wings were missing nearly half their lineup.

Pavel Datsyuk had two goals and an assist, and Curtis Joseph made 23 saves in the Red Wings' 7-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday night.

Playing without 10 regulars, including captain Steve Yzerman and No. 1 goaltender Dominik Hasek, the Red Wings played it close for the first two periods before dominating the third to win their second straight game and sixth in their last eight (6-1-1).

"Basically I told the players to walk out of here and be proud of your performance," Red Wings coach Dave Lewis said. "I thought collectively, as a group, the resolve was to just try to make a difference in the game."

Kris Draper had a goal and two assists, Mathieu Schneider and Boyd Devereaux each had a goal and an assist, and Kirk Maltby and Jiri Hudler also scored for the Red Wings.

Daniel Briere and Jochen Hecht scored for the Sabres, who lost their third straight and are 1-4 in their last five.

Joseph, who cleared waivers Friday after Detroit demoted him to Grand Rapids of the AHL, was making his fourth start of the season and first since a 5-2 win over Minnesota on Nov. 22.

"You just have to try and have fun playing the game," Joseph said. "That's what I'm trying to do."

Joseph improved his career mark to 16-5-4 against the Sabres.

Detroit was playing its first game since losing defenseman Chris Chelios (knee), forwards Steve Thomas (knee) and Ray Whitney (groin), and goaltenders Hasek (groin) and Manny Legace (knee) to injuries in Monday's 3-2 overtime victory over Los Angeles.

Also gone from the lineup were defenseman Derian Hatcher (knee), and forwards Henrik Zetterberg (leg), Tomas Holmstrom and Darren McCarty (back).

Still, they didn't miss a beat Wednesday.

"It was a total team effort," Draper said.

Datsyuk got things rolling for Detroit in the first when he tied it at 1 with less than six minutes remaining.

Maltby made it 2-1 before the Red Wings surged with five goals in the third, including Datsyuk's second of the game and 14th of the season.

"He's doing it all," Brett Hull said about Datsyuk. "He's awesome. He's still learning day by day, that's the scary thing."

Ryan Miller, recalled from Rochester of AHL on Monday, made his third start for Buffalo, allowing seven goals on 23 shots. Miller started and lost Buffalo's first two games this season.

"I'm disappointed, obviously," Miller said. "I just have to come back to practice tomorrow, if I'm still here."

Briere opened the scoring at 4:43 of the first period after banking a shot off Joseph while standing to the right of the net along the goal line.

Draper, Hudler, Schneider and Devereaux also scored in the third for Detroit. It was Hudler's first career NHL goal.

Overall, the Red Wings dressed eight players that toiled in Grand Rapids this year, and all played except backup goaltender Joey MacDonald.

"The young guys came in and played well," Hull said. "That shows the quality of this organization, being able to bring all those guys in and have them play like that."

Hecht scored his second goal of the season for Buffalo with 5:23 remaining.

Mathieu Dandenault and Jason Woolley also added two assists for Detroit, which is 6-1-1 in its last eight.

"If you look at the game, it was 2-1 with 11 or 12 minutes left in the third, and then we completely implode," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "We allowed Detroit to run away with the game."

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