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Trending: Howard stellar but Sabres get the shutout victory

Athanasiou joins team, could be ready to play fairly soon

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji /

BUFFALO - The Red Wings were looking to end a skid and the Buffalo Sabres were looking for back-to-back wins.

Thanks to 32 saves from goaltender Robin Lehner, it was the Sabres who got what they wanted, a 1-0 shutout at Buffalo's KeyBank Center.

The Wings fell to 0-4-1 in their last five games and now travel to face a red-hot Tampa Bay Lightning team.

They could get defenseman Danny DeKeyser back from a lower-body injury for that game.

1. Jimmy Howard : Perhaps Jimmy Howard could have sued his teammates for lack of support. Howard was busy making save after save, only failing to stop Benoit Pouliot on a wraparound rebound of Victor Antipin's shot at 9:45 of the second period. Howard, who came into the game 8-0-1 against the Sabres for his career, took his first loss in regulation against the Sabres and undeservedly so. Howard had 31 saves.

Quotable: "It's part of the game. Some nights you're in goalie battles and sometimes you come out on top, and sometimes you don't. Robin played a great game for them tonight." - Howard

2. Dirty goals: The Wings will take any kind of goal to get out of their funk but they know that it is often the ones that are rebounds or bounce off players that beat the goaltenders in the NHL. Once one of those goes in, it seems to open the door for more pucks to make it through. In the third period, Wings coach Jeff Blashill reunited some of the lines that had success to start the season, like the Martin Frk-Dylan Larkin-Anthony Mantha one and they generated some chances but weren't able to beat Lehner.

Quotable: "I've been harping on this and I've got to get our guys to do it better - we need to get more bodies to the net. We look off shots at times because we know the net's not occupied. We've got to be way more belligerent about getting bodies to the net so that we can score those dirty goals. I talked about that lots early in the year that it's a dirty goal league. That's the reality of the league. We gotta get to the net more." - Blashill

Quotable II: "It's a tricky situation. Obviously, we've been playing better than to get one point out of 10 but you can't fall back to that either and stay somewhat happy about that. We're still only one point out of 10 possible. Only thing we can do is stick together and keep going like we are tonight. We know it's going to be a challenge for us in Tampa. We played a good game against them in our building, so we got to make sure we do the same in theirs." - Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg

3. Andreas Athanasiou: Andreas Athanasiou arrived in Buffalo Tuesday before the game, work visa in hand, ready to take his physical. Athanasiou, who had been skating in Switzerland with HC Lugano, is expected to practice with the Wings Wednesday in Tampa. He will address the media after practice. But the Wings could use an offensively gifted forward like Athanasiou at this point, with offense tough to come by of late.

Quotable: "I think I gotta watch him practice tomorrow. And when I watch him practice, we'll know where he is in terms of where his fitness level is at. I know from talking to him tonight, it sounds like it's really good. We know where he's at timing-wise and then we'll make a decision. Obviously he's someone who can give us a big boost. He's a guy who can create something out of nothing. In a game like tonight, when you need somebody to step up and make a play, he's done that in the past, so hopefully we can get him in there soon." - Blashill

Quotable II: "We all know what type of player AA is. He uses his speed. He's got a great skill set. He'll help this lineup a lot. We look forward to having him back in the lineup." - Howard

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