Red Wings outlast Sabres, 3-2

DETROIT — The Detroit Red Wings let the game get a little too interesting, but hung on to further secure their playoff standing.

A dominant first period had deteriorated by the third period Friday, rendering a three-goal lead as a 3-2 final against the Buffalo Sabres at Joe Louis Arena. That means a four-game winning streak – for only the second time this season – that will be put to the test Saturday at Montreal.

Detroit maintained its positioning as the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference, likely the best the Wings can do as the Canadiens and Tampa Bay are neck-and-neck for second and third place in the Atlantic Division. Columbus’ regulation loss to Chicago put three points between the Wings and the Blue Jackets.

Pavel Datsyuk returned after a five-week absence nursing an inflamed left knee, and Daniel Alfredsson reappeared after a one-game absence nursing a sore back. Alfredsson had a goal and an assist in the first period, and Tomas Jurco and Darren Helm also scored. Jimmy Howard, two nights after an outstanding performance against the elite Boston Bruins, had a rougher night.

After Buffalo fought back with a goal in the second to trim the Detroit lead to 3-1, the third period began with a minute of four-on-four play followed by a short Wings power play. Johan Franzen continued to be denied by Matt Hackett on good looks, and then Nicolas Deslauriers beat Howard with a wrist shot just past six minutes. That prompted a little line shuffling from the Wings, with Datsyuk taking shifts with Franzen and Gustav Nyquist and David Legwand moving to center Alfredsson and Justin Abdelkader.

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Posted by Tribune News Services

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