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Wings go for team-record 15 in a row at home

by Davis Harper

SABRES (19-20-5) at RED WINGS (28-15-1)


Last 10: Buffalo 3-5-2; Detroit 7-3-0

Season Series: This is the second of two meetings this season. On Dec. 2, Detroit came to Buffalo with a six-game winning streak and left with a 4-1 win, behind 27 saves by All-Star goalie Jimmy Howard. Overall, Detroit has won 18 of the last 22 games between the teams, dating back to 1995-96.

Big Story : The struggling Sabres enter Detroit looking for any sort of momentum, but a victory won't come easily against a Red Wings team that has won 14 in a row at Joe Louis Arena. With 57 points, Detroit is fifth in the West after a 3-2 overtime win over Chicago on Saturday - the second OT win over the Blackhawks in a week -- but just one point out of first place in the three-way scramble for the lead in the Central Division. The Sabres began a seven-game trip with a 4-2 loss to the New York Islanders on Saturday.

Team Scope:

Sabres: The road hasn't been kind to the Sabres in recent weeks. The loss on Long Island was their eighth in a row away from First Niagara Center since Dec. 3. The Sabres had a chance to tie Saturday's game when Thomas Vanek was awarded a penalty shot with 1:24 left in regulation, but he hit the post and the Islanders scored into the empty net to wrap up the win.

"That could have been our savior, but it wasn't to be," coach Lindy Ruff said of Vanek's shot.

One bright spot was the play of backup goalie, who made 36 stops.

"When you don't execute exits out of your zone, you have a hard time generating much at the other end," Ruff said. "On the bright side, I did think Jhonas was terrific."

Red Wings: Detroit tied a 47-year-old franchise record for consecutive home victories by winning Saturday, but not without a scare. After outshooting Chicago 21-4 and a 2-0 lead into the first intermission, the Wings were outplayed over the last 40 minutes. They were outshot 23-13 and surrendered the tying goal when Jonathan Toews scored with 52 seconds left in regulation. But with time winding down in OT, Todd Bertuzzi swatted the rebound off a Valtteri Filppula wrister out of the air and into the net for the win.

"They were way better than us at the start of the third, and actually Miller's four-minute penalty probably helped us," coach Mike Babcock said. "We finally got energy and got going and settled down. I don't know why we weren't playing, but we weren't."

Who's Hot: Pavel Datsyuk set up both Detroit regulation goals Saturday, and has six assists in his last six games.

Injury Report: Few on Buffalo's bench have avoided the injury bug. Brayden McNabb (concussion) and Robyn Regehr (upper body) are questionable for Monday's game. Christian Ehrhoff (upper body), Andrej Sekera (upper body), Colin Stuart (lower body), Tyler Ennis (left ankle) and Corey Tropp (upper body) are on injured reserve. … Detroit's Mike Commodore (bruised left ankle) is questionable, while Patrick Eaves (broken jaw) is out indefinitely.

Stat Pack: A trip to Detroit is a homecoming for Miller, who is expected to get the start in the state where he grew up and starred for Michigan State. However, Miller is just 2-5-2 with a 3.30 goals-against average in nine career matchups with Detroit. He's also struggled on the road, losing his last six decisions with a 3.45 GAA.

Puck Drop: The home winning streak, matching mark set in 1964-65, has become a source of pride for the Wings, according to captain Nicklas Lidstrom.

"Even though we're in the thick of a tight race, it is something we can be proud of as a team," he said. "This franchise hasn't done this since the 1960s, so it says a lot that we've been able to do it. ... It's always good to have something to motivate you on any given night."
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