Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Sports

April 8, 2014

Wings clip Sabres, close in on playoffs

Helm nets go-ahead goal in 4-2 win in Buffalo.

BUFFALO —

Darren Helm scored the go-ahead goal 3:33 into the third period to inch the Detroit Red Wings closer to clinching a playoff berth with a 4-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night.

Brendan Smith, David Legwand and Pavel Datsyuk, into an empty net, also scored for the Red Wings, and Jimmy Howard made 25 saves. Detroit (38-27-14) moved within a point of securing one of the Eastern Conference's two wild-card playoff spots, and extending its run of postseason berths to 23 straight seasons.

The win was the 414th for Red Wings coach Mike Babcock, who moved one ahead of Jack Adams for first on the franchise list.

Zemgus Girgensons scored both goals for the Sabres (21-49-9), who are already guaranteed of finishing in last place once the season ends on Sunday.

The Red Wings continued their domination of Buffalo. They've won eight straight since a 6-2 loss on Oct. 13, 2009, and improved to 23-2-1-1 against Buffalo since March 27, 1996, according to STATS.

Detroit looked flat coming off a two-day break since a 5-3 loss at Montreal on Saturday, and wound up coming from behind after spotting the Sabres a 1-0 lead.

Helm started the play that led to his go-ahead goal by winning a faceoff to the left of the Sabres net. He drew the puck back to Kyle Quincey, who's shot from the left point was deflected on its way to the net.

Matt Hackett made the initial stop, but was unable to control the rebound, which squirted through a crowd of players in front. Helm gathered up the loose puck and took a few steps to his right, where he snapped it into the open side before Hackett had time to recover.

Legwand then made it 3-1 to seal the win by beating Hackett through the legs with 4:14 remaining.

Girgensons made it close 2:03 later by capping a great individual rush, in which he got between two defenders and roofed a shot over Howard's right shoulder.

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