Hossa scores twice as Red Wings clip Sabres

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BUFFALO, New York (AP) -- Red Wings goalie Chris Osgood picked a

perfect place to catch Dominik Hasek on the NHL's career win

list.

Too bad for Buffalo, because Osgood made 32 saves in Detroit's

4-1 win over the Sabres on Monday night -- further derailing

their playoff chances with less than a week left in the regular

season.

"I don't know a lot of things, but I knew that today that I

could tie Dom here, so that's pretty cool," said Osgood after he

earned his 389th NHL victory and moved into a 10th-place tie

with the Red Wings' former starter in a town where Hasek played

most of his career. "It's a great honor for me to be mentioned

with a goalie of his stature. To do it here is a little more

special."

The only blemish was Osgood's lost bid for his 50th NHL shutout

with 10:06 left. Paul Gaustad converted a scramble in front to

cut Detroit's lead to 3-1.

That's as close as the Sabres got. Failing to take advantage of

a fast start in which they outshot the Red Wings 13-5, the

Sabres lost their second straight and squandered another

opportunity to move up in the playoff hunt. With three games

left, Buffalo sits 10th in the Eastern Conference, four points

behind the New York Rangers and Florida at the postseason

cutoff.

"It's tough. Until you're mathematically out of it, you can't

quit. Even if you are, you can't quit," Sabres goalie Ryan

Miller said. "We put ourselves in a tough spot."

Osgood wasn't the only Detroit player to achieve a significant

plateau. Marian Hossa scored twice, including his 40th of the

season, and added an assist. Nicklas Lidstrom's empty-net goal

in the final minute was the 227th tally of his career, moving

him into a tie for 12th among NHL defenseman.

Brad Stuart, with his second of the season, also scored for a

team that's already clinched the Central Division title. Coming

of a 3-2 win over Minnesota on Sunday, the Red Wings won on

back-to-back nights, and firmly put behind them a frustrating

three-game skid.

"We seem to have found our way," coach Mike Babcock said. "We've

got a proud group. I think they said, 'Enough's enough, let's

get playing again.'"

With 111 points, Detroit moved to within four points of

league-leading San Jose.

Osgood did his part in the early going, making several superb

stops. Less than 2 minutes in, Osgood denied Adam Mair's attempt

to flip in a shot at the right post. Later in the period, he

somehow got his stick on Jason Pominville's point shot that got

to the net through a crowd in front.

The Red Wings took control during a two-minute span bridging the

second intermission.

Stuart opened the scoring with a power-play goal with 1:19 left

in the second period when his point shot sneaked through a crowd

and beat Miller.

Hossa than scored consecutive goals less than 9 minutes apart in

the third period in helping Detroit built a 3-0 lead. Hossa's

first proved demoralizing to the Sabres, coming 36 seconds into

the frame, when he backhanded in a loose puck after Miller

stopped Lidstrom's point shot. Hossa made it 3-0 less than 9

minutes later, converting a feed from Pavel Datsyuk.

"We played patient and we played well," Gaustad said. "They took

advantage of their chances and we didn't. It's tough to get down

to that team."

How tough? The Red Wings are 37-4-4 when scoring the first goal,

and 34-1-5 when entering the third period with a lead.

"These are difficult games," Osgood said. "Everybody we seem to

be playing of late seem to be on the brink of making it or

fighting somebody else for a playoff spot. It's good games for

us going into the playoffs. It gets us as playoff-ready as

possible."

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