Red Wings Blank Sabres for Franchise-Record 15th Straight Home Win

Detroit netminder Jimmy Howard stopped all 27 shots he faced Monday night as the Red Wings cruised to a 5-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres for their 15th consecutive home win, a new franchise record.

The previous record was set during the 1964-65 season, which saw the Red Wings finish first overall in the six-team league but lose to the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round of the playoffs.

Henrik Zetterberg opened the game’s scoring at 5:20 of the first period when he carried the puck from the right faceoff circle through the slot and into the left circle to snap a shot past Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller.

With 1:49 left in the period, Johan Franzen took a long pass through the neutral zone from Pavel Datsyuk to break in on Miller before rifling a shot from the inside edge of the right circle past Miller.

Nicklas Lidstrom made it 3-0 with just 17 seconds left in the first, jumping in from the left point all alone to bang the rebound of a Todd Bertuzzi chance past Miller from the bottom of the left circle.

Bertuzzi added a goal of his own at 4:19 of the second. Datsyuk stole the puck behind the net and sent it out to Bertuzzi at the bottom of the right circle. Bertuzzi cut across the top of the crease with it but couldn’t get to the open net, so he spun back around and backhanded a shot under Miller.

Just 13 seconds later, Darren Helm made it 5-0 beating Miller on a shot from the slot off a feed from the Buffalo goalie’s brother, Drew Miller.

Having allowed five goals on 14 shots, Ryan Miller was pulled after the Helm goal. Jhonas Enroth played the final 35:28 of the game for the Sabres, stopping all 12 shots he faced.

Neither team scored a power play goal on the night. The Sabres had three power play chances while Detroit had four.

The Red Wings next travel to Dallas to face the Stars on Tuesday night.

Datsyuk’s assist on Bertuzzi’s goal was his third of the night and his 700th career point, reaching the milestone in 706 games played… Jan Mursak and Mike Commodore were scratches for Detroit.

Postgame: Sabres @ Red Wings – 1/16

I managed to harp on the negatives even after a big OT win for Detroit over the Blackhawks on Saturday, so let’s start there for tonight’s win over the Sabres.

The Wings definitely let up after Ryan Miller got pulled from the Buffalo net. They did that after the first period against Chicago and it nearly bit them in the ass. I don’t like seeing it, but it’s easier to understand tonight than it was on Saturday with the Red Wings up by five rather than only two.

And that final score may have been 5-0 but that wasn’t entirely because the Red Wings were that good. The Sabres were absolutely awful. Give the Red Wings credit for some great plays and for taking advantage of what they were given, but if I were a Buffalo fan I’d be p*ssed at that team’s effort.

But like I said, Detroit did make some great plays.

Todd Bertuzzi‘s spin-o-rama in front of the goal reminds you that, for a big guy, he has soft hands. He’s on a roll and it’s good to see.

Henrik Zetterberg finally got a goal, Johan Franzen had a hell of a shot for his goal. Nicklas Lidstrom‘s goal… How the hell did no one have him?

And Jimmy Howard with the shutout is fantastic. Didn’t have to make a ton of big stops or anything but consistency counts.

Great to see the fifteenth consecutive home win. Records are fun. This one’s a little weird ’cause the Wings are so (relatively) awful on the road that they need these wins at home just to make up for it. It’d be a lot easier to celebrate a major home winning streak if they weren’t in a three-way battle for first in the division.