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Slumping Red Wings break out against Sabres; Dominik Hasek makes 22 saves @NHLdotcom

The best team in hockey broke out of its worst slump in almost two decades.

Johan Franzen and Valtteri Filppula each had a goal and assist, and Dominik Hasek made 22 saves to lead the Detroit Red Wings to only their second victory in the last 12 games, a 4-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday night.

The Red Wings, 2-8-2 in their last dozen games, haven't gone through such a bad stretch since going 0-9-3 from Oct. 21-Nov. 16, 1989.

"We were waiting for a game like this," said Hasek, who improved to 5-1-2 against his former team. "We weren't playing bad, we just couldn't score the goals. Today, we finally scored a few goals and played well defensively. Overall, I think Buffalo didn't have too many chances."

In other NHL games it was: the New York Rangers 5, Philadelphia 4, in a shootout; Chicago 4, Vancouver 1; Pittsburgh 3, Atlanta 2, in a shootout; Florida 1, the New York Islanders 0; Minnesota 2, Los Angeles 1 in overtime; and Edmonton 4, Columbus 3 in a shootout.

In Buffalo, the Red Wings took 18 shots on net while playing nearly most of the first period in the Sabres' zone.

"We talked a lot about just getting to the net and shooting the puck," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "We got off to a good start, and had the puck a lot."

Dallas Drake and Kirk Maltby also scored for the Red Wings, who snapped a four-game losing streak and pulled five points ahead of the Dallas Stars for the top spot in the Western Conference. Detroit's 92 points is tops in the NHL.

What made the win even that much sweeter for the Red Wings was the absence of Henrik Zetterberg from the scoresheet. It didn't matter that Detroit's leading scorer didn't figure in on any of the scoring, with the grinding line of Drake, Maltby and Kris Draper picking up with two goals and an assist.

"We need to contribute more to help out," said Maltby, who scored for the first time since Oct. 26. "We've been finding ways to lose games, and we weren't getting the job done. Tonight, we got the lead and finished strong."

The Red Wings once again played without three key injured defensemen: Nicklas Lidstrom (knee), Brian Rafalski (groin) and Chris Chelios (knee).

Rookie Patrick Kaleta and Jason Pominville scored for the slumping Sabres, who lost for the fourth time in five games (1-3-1). Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller finished with 35 saves.

At Pittsburgh, rookie defenseman Kris Letang had the only goal in the shootout and the Penguins rallied after giving away a two-goal lead.

The Thrashers have lost seven straight.

Marc-Andre Fleury, making his first start in goal since badly spraining an ankle Dec. 6, turned aside 31 shots and didn't allow former teammate Erik Christensen, Eric Perrin or Ilya Kovalchuk to get the puck past him in the shootout.

Ryan Malone and Maxime Talbot gave Pittsburgh a 2-0 lead barely two minutes into the game. Jim Slater and Slava Kozlov tied it for Atlanta.

At New York, Steve Valiquette stopped 17 of 18 shots after Henrik Lundqvist was pulled and the Rangers won in a shootout.

Jeff Carter's second goal of the game got the Flyers even at 4 with 8:11 left in regulation. But Brendan Shanahan and Nigel Dawes scored in the shootout and Valiquette was perfect. He has five wins this season, including three over Philadelphia.

That snapped Philadelphia's three-game winning streak and extended the Rangers' surge to 7-0-2.

At Edmonton, Alberta, Ales Hemsky scored the only goal of the shootout as the Edmonton Oilers won their fourth consecutive game.

Edmonton extended its NHL record for most shootout wins in a season to 14.

Hemsky, Andrew Cogliano and Steve Staios scored in regulation for Edmonton. Rick Nash, Jason Chimera and Dick Tarnstrom scored for Columbus.

At St. Paul, Minn., Martin Skoula scored with 1:15 left in overtime and Minnesota gained sole possession of the division lead. It was his first goal in 23 games.

Marian Gaborik also scored for Minnesota, which moved two points ahead of idle Calgary atop the Northwest Division.

Michael Cammalleri scored for Los Angeles. Erik Ersberg stopped 33 shots in his first career start.

At Uniondale, N.Y., Craig Anderson stopped 53 shots to earn his first shutout of the season and David Booth scored in the first period for Florida.

Anderson won for the fourth time this season and second time against New York. It was his third career shutout.

Wade Dubielewicz filled in for Islanders starting goalie Rick DiPietro and stopped 29 shots.

In Chicago, rookie scoring leader Patrick Kane had two goals and an assist.

Andrew Ladd and Patrick Sharp also scored for Chicago, 7-3-0 in its last 10 games.

Ryan Kesler scored for Vancouver, which lost its third straight (0-2-1), but first in regulation in nine games.

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