Last week, the Detroit Red Wings ended their latest extended losing streak with a victory over the Buffalo Sabres.
Now the Red Wings aim for third win in four games with a second victory over the Sabres during a six-day span, as Detroit visits Buffalo on Tuesday night.
Detroit might sit at the bottom of the league with a paltry 32 points, but it’s picked up four points in the last three games following an 0-8-1 stretch. The slide ended with a 4-3 shootout victory at Buffalo on Thursday.
Though the Red Wings blew leads of 2-0 and 3-2 in that contest, they managed to prevail with Dylan Larkin and Andreas Athanasiou each posting shootout goals. After following that triumph with a 2-0 loss at Columbus, Detroit pulled off an impressive 3-1 home victory over Boston on Sunday.
In that one, Athanasiou scored a pair of third-period goals to help the Red Wings take down one of the top teams in the NHL.
“This shows everyone in the (dressing) room that if we compete, we can beat anyone,” Athanasiou, who recorded his first points in four games since missing 13 with a lower-body injury, told NHL.com.
“If we come together and play a good solid game we can compete with the best teams in this league.”
Detroit last won back-to-back games on Jan. 7 and 10, but will try for a third consecutive victory at Buffalo. That’s where the Sabres are mired in an 0-2-1 rut and have just one win over their last six games.
Buffalo fell behind 3-0 in the first 12 minutes there Sunday against Anaheim and lost 3-2. Rasmus Dahlin and Johan Larsson had goals, but the Sabres lost for sixth time in eight games overall.
“It was important the character they showed to get (Sunday’s game) turned,” Buffalo coach Ralph Krueger said of his club. “We need to take the energy we showed in the last 50 minutes of the game into the next one.”
Defenseman Dahlin has two goals with eight assists over his last 12 games. However, teammate Jeff Skinner has just one point in his last 16 contests.
It’s uncertain who the Sabres will have in net after Carter Hutton, who has one win in his last seven home starts, was unable to go Sunday due to a family issue. Andrew Hammond was called up and Jonas Johansson pressed into a starting role and made 25 saves. Johansson stopped 18 shots against the Red Wings last week.
Detroit’s Jonathan Bernier, meanwhile, has a 1.87 goals-against average over a 5-4-0 starting stretch. That included a 29-save effort versus Buffalo in that most recent meeting. Teammate Jimmy Howard, who started Friday at Columbus, is 0-16-2 with a 4.33 goals-against average as a starter since helping to beat Edmonton on Oct. 29.
Larkin, who leads Detroit with 40 points, scored twice against the Sabres last week. He’s recorded seven goals with two assists in his last eight games versus Buffalo.
Detroit could get a boost with the expected return Tuesday of winger Anthony Mantha (12 goals, 12 assists), who has been out since Dec. 21 with broken ribs and a punctured lung.
–Field Level Media