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Surging Red Wings think they can improve vs. Sabres

by Paul Harris / NHL.com

SABRES (12-15-3) at RED WINGS (16-8-6)

TV: MSG-B, BELL TV, FS-D+

DETROIT -- The Detroit Red Wings have earned at least a point in 13 straight (8-0-5) going into their game against the Buffalo Sabres at Joe Louis Arena on Monday (7:30 p.m. ET; MSG-B, BELL TV, FS-D+) but still think they have a lot of room for improvement.

"Two areas that we want to be better at is, one, our turnovers have crept up over the five-game segment compared to the three previous to that, so we need to limit more of our turnovers," Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "We had too many turnovers the other night (a 3-2 overtime loss to the New Jersey Devils on Friday) in the third period as well.

"And then as we continue to become a better offensive team, which we've been over the last 15 games -- I think we're ranked first in the League [during that time] -- we have to measure that versus making sure we're really good defensively. Ultimately, the best teams are the ones that are great defensively and offensively."

Sabres captain and forward Brian Gionta said the Red Wings are a difficult team to play.

"They are extremely hard to play against because they're a puck possession team that doesn't give up too much," Gionta said. "... We turned the puck over too much the last game against them. We've got to find ways against that team to control the puck."

Coach Dan Bylsma wants the Sabres to play a tighter game Monday than it did during a 5-4 shootout loss at Joe Louis Arena on Dec. 1.

"It was definitely faster than we wanted it to be and a lot more open," Bylsma said.

Blashill praised Bylsma and the Sabres.

"The team's real structured, they're playing very hard for him," Blashill said. "I think that's probably the best compliment to a coach is that you're structured and they play hard for you."

Buffalo's power play is second in the NHL at 23.4 percent.

"We're getting back to being simple, getting shots at the net," Gionta said.

Here are the projected lineups:

SABRES

Jamie McGinn - Ryan O'Reilly - Sam Reinhart

Evander Kane - Jack Eichel - Matt Moulson

Zemgus Girgensons - Johan Larsson - Brian Gionta

Nicolas Deslauriers - David Legwand - Marcus Foligno

Josh Gorges - Rasmus Ristolainen

Carlo Colaiacovo - Zach Bogosian

Mike Weber - Cody Franson

Chad Johnson

Linus Ullmark

Injured: Robin Lehner (high ankle sprain), Tyler Ennis (upper body), Cody McCormick (blood clots), Mark Pysyk (lower body)

Scratched: Jake McCabe

RED WINGS

Dylan Larkin - Henrik Zetterberg - Justin Abdelkader

Darren Helm - Pavel Datsyuk - Brad Richards

Gustav Nyquist - Riley Sheahan - Tomas Tatar

Tomas Jurco - Luke Glendening - Joakim Andersson

Niklas Kronwall - Mike Green

Danny DeKeyser - Jonathan Ericsson

Brendan Smith - Alexey Marchenko

Petr Mrazek

Jimmy Howard

Injured: Drew Miller (broken jaw), Teemu Pulkkinen (dislocated shoulder), Johan Franzen (concussion), Kyle Quincey (ankle)

Scratched: Jakub Kindl

Status report: Andersson has stepped into Miller's role on Detroit's fourth line and as a penalty killer.

Who's hot: O'Reilly has a seven-game point streak (three goals, seven assists) … Zetterberg has a four-game point streak (goal, three assists).

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