Right winger Daniel Afredsson had a goal and an assist and
Detroit held on for a 3-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Friday
night at Joe Louis Arena after jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the
"To me, I thought we started really good, we were all over them,"
said Red Wings coach Mike Babcock, who posted his 413th win for
Detroit, tying him for the franchise record with Jack Adams.
"I thought suddenly we had some skill and suddenly we were dangling
around with the puck and now we had the cute-itis going and then we
didn't want to shoot it in the net, we wanted to pass it one more
time and the next thing you know i''s game on instead of just doing
things simple and hard and right."
It was Detroit's fourth consecutive win.
Center Darren Helm and right winger Tomas Jurco also scored for the
Red Wings (37-26-14), who are in the seventh playoff spot in the
Eastern Conference, three points ahead of the eighth-place Columbus
Blue Jackets. Defenseman Danny DeKeyser had two assists and Jimmy
Howard made 21 saves.
Defenseman Jamie McBain scored and left winger Nicolas Deslauriers
got his first career goal for Buffalo (21-47-9), which has the NHL's
worst record. Goaltender Matt Hackett stopped 28 shots.
"We had nothing to lose. Got the day off tomorrow. Just tried to
leave it all on the ice ... after the tough start, " McBain said.
The Sabres lost in St. Louis 2-1 on Thursday night and did not reach
their hotel in Detroit until 4 a.m. Friday.
"We talked about having excuses. We could've had a real good one,"
Buffalo coach Ted Nolan said. "I think tired is a state of mind. We
got in at 4 this morning and slept in. It wasn't that short of a
Deslauriers pulled the Sabres to within one at 6:40 of the third
period. He drilled a loose puck from the slot off a face-off past
"Yeah, I got a little more nervous at the end there. They were all
over us and we all know we need those points," Jurco said. "It got a
little more nervous towards the end, but I think we handled it
McBain's power-play goal put Buffalo on the scoreboard with 7:32
left in the second period. He beat Howard with a wrist shot from the
left circle for McBain's fifth goal.
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Alfredsson tried to explain the letdown.
"I think it's the pressure, the time of the year, the magnitude of
the game, being a game we can't afford to lose, all those things
combined, I think makes for us being cautious, more than playing
hard for 60," he said. "Before we feel like the underdog and feel
like we can claw ourselves into games and find a way to win and
today we're the favorites and didn't handle that as well as we can."
Helm opened the scoring 5:47 into the game when he put in a loose
puck from Hackett's right at the side of the crease. It was Helm's
11th goal of the season.
Jurco and Andersson then scored 1:16 apart.
Jurco tipped Dekeyser's shot from the point out of the air and past
Hackett for a power-play goal with 5:48 left in the first period. It
was Jurco's seventh goal of the season and second in two games. It
came with left winger John Scott in the penalty box for hooking.
Alfredsson got his 18th goal of the season with 4:32 remaining in
the opening period, scoring on a rebound.
NOTES: Detroit C Pavel Datsyuk returned after missing 16 games with
an inflamed knee. He had also missed 30 of the last 34 games. ...
Buffalo D Henrik Tallinder missed his second game with a lower-body
injury. ... Red Wings RW Daniel Alfredsson returned after missing a
game with a sore back. ... Sabres LW Ville Leino formerly played
with Detroit. ... Sabres goalies Matt Hackett and Michal Neuvirth
both played junior hockey with the Ontario Hockey League's Plymouth
Whalers, who are based in suburban Detroit. ... Friday was the final
game for referee Don Van Massenhoven. It was the 1,277th NHL game of
his career. He chose to work his final game at Joe Louis Arena and
was was named the game's honorary first star.
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