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Sabres hosting Red Wings in desperate need of points

by Adam Schwartz
Monday marks the beginning of the final week of the NHL’s regular season and the Detroit Red Wings, who are secure as the second seed in the Western Conference, are set to battle the desperate Buffalo Sabres (7 p.m. ET, VERSUS, TSN).

The Sabres are four points out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with just four games left, but they have a game in hand on the New York Rangers and the Florida Panthers, who have the same number of points and are in eighth and ninth place, respectively.

Two other games Monday night also have playoff implications. The Ottawa Senators visit their rivals in Montreal, where the Canadiens will try to jump past the Penguins for sixth place in the East. Meanwhile, the Kings face off with the Flames, who are looking to make good use of their game in hand on Vancouver by gaining a two-point advantage in the fight for the Northwest Division title.

Here are some facts involving Monday night's games:

* Detroit center Pavel Datsyuk is one of just four players in the League with at least 95 points and has 26 more points than any of his teammates. Datsyuk has 30 multiple-point games this season and has had 2 points in each of his last three games.

* Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom has hit the 50-point mark for the 12th time in the last 13 seasons, but if he doesn't get four points in Detroit's four remaining games, he is going to fail to get 60 points for the first time since he had just 38 points in the 2003-04 season.

* Buffalo defenseman Jaroslav Spacek leads Sabres defensemen with 40 points, but has 20 of those points while the Sabres are on the power play. Spacek has scored none of his eight goals in the third period, but has 12 of his 32 assists in the third period.

* Senators defenseman Filip Kuba had 24 assists and 25 points in 36 games prior to the All-Star break, but has just 12 assists and 14 points in 31 games since then. Kuba leads the team with an average ice time of 23:15 and an average power-play ice time of 4:29.

* Montreal center Saku Koivu, the club's captain since 1999, is tied for the Northeast Division lead with a faceoff-winning percentage of 54.5 percent. Koivu has 7 assists and 10 points in his last eight games and has been held pointless in just one game during that span. Despite the fact Koivu missed 17 games this season with a foot injury, he is just two points short of recording his sixth consecutive 50-point season.

* Kings center Alexander Frolov reached the 30-goal mark Saturday by scoring twice in Los Angeles' 6-1 win against the Coyotes. Frolov has scored 12 of his 30 goals in the third period and has 14 assists and 19 points in 21 career games against the Flames, including a goal and 2 assists in three games this season.

* Los Angeles defenseman Drew Doughty is the only rookie to lead his team in ice time at 23:56 and leads rookie defensemen with 27 points, but has the worst plus-minus among rookies at minus-17. While Doughty's minus-2 at home is respectable on a team in 13th place in the Western Conference, he is struggling away from Los Angeles with a minus-15 rating in 38 road games.

* Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff has been in goal for all 44 of Calgary's wins this season, but would have to start and win all four of Calgary's remaining games to tie Martin Brodeur's single-season record of 48 wins. Kiprusoff has the Kings' number with a 12-5-1 career record with a .917 save percentage against Los Angeles, including a 3-0 record with a .959 save percentage this season.

* Calgary center Craig Conroy is second on the team with a plus-17 rating and has missed just one game this season. While Conroy has been held pointless in five of his last six games, he did score the game-winning goal Friday in the Flames' 2-1 win against the Stars.

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