Red Wings-Sabres Preview
After knocking off one of the league's premier franchises, the Detroit Red Wings will try to secure a season-high win streak by beating one of its lowliest.
The Red Wings will also try to add to their dominance over the Buffalo Sabres when they get Johan Franzen back on the ice for the opener to a three-game road trip Sunday.
Detroit (6-2-2) scored four times in the opening period en route to a 5-2 victory over reigning champion Los Angeles on Friday. Gustav Nyquist and Pavel Datsyuk each had two goals and an assist with Nyquist scoring his two on power plays in the first 11:44.
"We got off to a really good start. The power play was magic,'' said coach Mike Babcock, whose team was 3 for 34 with a man advantage in the first nine games. "We're going in the right direction. We've got to keep getting better."
The Red Wings are expected to get some help as they try for a third consecutive win with Franzen set to end a six-game absence due to a groin injury. He had two goals and three assists in his first four games, and will play for the first time this season with Datsyuk, who has four goals in the last three contests.
Datsyuk also has four assists during a career-best five-game point streak to start a season and has played a large role in Detroit's eight consecutive wins over Buffalo (2-9-1). He has five goals and four assists while appearing in seven matchups.
He scored two goals in last season's four meetings, which the Red Wings swept by a 12-6 margin, and Darren Helm extended his goal scoring streak against the Sabres to four games in the final matchup, a 4-2 road win April 8.
After finishing with a league-low 52 points in 2013-14, Buffalo is well on its way to another dreadful showing this season. The Sabres have been outscored 24-5 during a 1-6-1 stretch and 12-2 in three consecutive losses.
They've also registered 18 shots or fewer in four straight games but earned a 2-1 win in San Jose on Oct. 25 at the beginning of that streak. They were far less competitive Saturday in Pittsburgh.
Buffalo was outshot 34-18, 12-3 in the opening period, and gave up three power-play goals in a 5-0 drubbing. The Sabres failed on four power-play chances, dropping them to 1 for 38 on the season.
Jhonas Enroth allowed all five goals, matching his total from his previous two starts.
"With our confidence right now, if we get down two goals, it doesn't seem like we have the will to battle back," coach Ted Nolan said. "When you don't work and you don't fight and you don't compete and you don't battle, that's what's going to happen."
Buffalo will next try to end an 0-4-1 mark at home. The Sabres had one of the worst home starts in NHL history last season, going 0-8-1 before avoiding a tie for an unwanted league record with a 3-2 shootout win over Los Angeles on Nov. 12.
Detroit has won four straight in Buffalo and seven of eight. The Red Wings are also 23-2-1 with one tie in their last 27 overall meetings.
The Sabres' Zemgus Girgensons had three goals in last season's series, the most against any team in his career, but has one assist in his last 10 games.