|DET||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||4|
|BUF||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||1|
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -Chris Osgood and the defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings sure look like they're ready for the playoffs.
The same can't be said for the Buffalo Sabres, who are suddenly on the verge of missing the postseason altogether for a second straight year.
The Red Wings' patience trumped the Sabres' desperation to open the final week of the regular season on Monday night as Osgood, Marian Hossa and Nicklas Lidstrom each achieved personal milestones en route to an efficient 4-1 victory.
Osgood made 32 saves to earn his 389th career win and tie Dominik Hasek for 10th on the NHL list. Hossa scored twice to reach the 40-goal plateau for the third time in his career. And Lidstrom, with an empty-netter, scored his 227th career goal to move into a tie with Kevin Hatcher and Steve Duchesne for 12th among NHL defensemen.
So much for the questions being raised about the Red Wings last week when they were mired in a three-game skid.
"We seem to have found our way," coach Mike Babcock said. "We've got a proud group. We've got good leadership. 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.
Buffalo, by comparison, is headed the other way in the Eastern Conference.
With three games left, the Sabres sit in 10th place, four points behind the New York Rangers and Florida in the race for the eighth and final berth.
"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."
Buffalo has lost two straight, and allowed three or more goals in each of its past 11 games (4-5-2). It's an inconsistent stretch in which the Sabres have lost to some of the league's best - New Jersey and Detroit - and worst, including two shootout losses to Atlanta.
On Monday, the Sabres were undone because they failed to capitalize on their first-period chances when outshooting the Red Wings 13-5 through 13 minutes. Detroit then took over by scoring opportunistic goals to build a 3-0 lead.
Brad Stuart opened the scoring on the power play with 1:19 left in the second period. Hossa then took over in the third, with his first goal demoralizing to the Sabres, coming 36 seconds into the frame, when he backhanded in a loose puck after Miller stopped Lidstrom's point shot.
"We made it hard on ourselves, but there's still a chance. There's still hope," said Paul Gaustad, who ruined Osgood's shutout bid with 10:06 left. "It was a tough loss, but we have to move forward and can't feel sorry for ourselves."
Osgood couldn't have picked a more perfect setting than Buffalo to match Hasek, the former Red Wings starter who spent most of his career playing for the Sabres.
"I don't know a lot of things, but I knew that today I could tie Dom here, so that's pretty cool," said Osgood. "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."
At Montreal, Dany Heatley scored two goals 38 seconds apart to put Ottawa ahead with 7:59 remaining in the third period, and the Senators dealt a big blow to the Canadiens' fading playoff chances.
Heatley lifted Ottawa into a 2-2 tie at 11:23 and then netted his 37th of the season at 12:01 when he beat Jaroslav Halak on a shot from the slot that silenced the sold-out Bell Centre crowd.
Chris Campoli also scored for the Senators, who will miss the playoffs for the first time in 13 seasons.
Alex Kovalev netted his 25th goal, and Roman Hamrlik scored with under 4 seconds remaining in the second period for the Canadiens, who are seventh in the East but only three points above the playoff cutoff with three games left.
Halak stopped 20 shots in his third straight start for Montreal, which lost top defensemen Andrei Markov and Mathieu Schneider to injuries in Saturday's 6-2 win in Toronto.
At Calgary, Alberta, Jarome Iginla had a goal and an assist to lead the Flames to a pivotal victory over Los Angeles.
Calgary moved two points ahead of Vancouver in the race for first place in the Northwest Division. The Flames can clinch the title with a regulation victory over the Canucks in Vancouver on Tuesday. Calgary had lost four of six, while scoring only six goals, before breaking out against the Kings.
The Flames outshot Los Angeles 19-5 in the second period and grabbed a 2-1 lead. Daymond Langkow, David Moss and Jim Vandermeer, with his first goal in 75 games, also scored for Calgary.
Wayne Simmonds netted the lone goal for Los Angeles.
|PPG - Brad Stuart (2) ASST: Marian Hossa (31), Tomas Holmstrom (22)|
1 - 0 DET
|Marian Hossa (39) ASST: Nicklas Lidstrom (43), Henrik Zetterberg (40)|
2 - 0 DET
|Marian Hossa (40) ASST: Pavel Datsyuk (64), Tomas Holmstrom (23)|
3 - 0 DET
|Paul Gaustad (11) ASST: Adam Mair (9), Craig Rivet (21)|
3 - 1 DET
|EN - Nicklas Lidstrom (15) ASST: Jonathan Ericsson (3), Pavel Datsyuk (65)|
4 - 1 DET
|Marian Hossa Tripping against Derek Roy|
|Chris Chelios Tripping against Paul Gaustad|
|Tomas Holmstrom Diving against Jaroslav Spacek|
|Jaroslav Spacek Hooking against Tomas Holmstrom|
|Maxim Afinogenov Holding against Marian Hossa|
|Derek Roy Roughing against Mikael Samuelsson|
|Mikael Samuelsson Roughing against Derek Roy|
|Valtteri Filppula Roughing against Drew Stafford|
|Drew Stafford Fighting (maj) against Jonathan Ericsson|
|Jonathan Ericsson Fighting (maj) against Drew Stafford|
|Tim Connolly Slashing against Brad Stuart|
|Valtteri Filppula Hi-sticking against Maxim Afinogenov|
|SA: 33||TOI: 59:49|
|Saves: 32||EV: 27 - 28|
|PIM: 0||PP: 5 - 5|
|SV%: .970||SH: 0 - 0|
|SA: 31||TOI: 58:45|
|Saves: 28||EV: 25 - 27|
|PIM: 0||PP: 2 - 3|
|SV%: .903||SH: 1 - 1|
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