Sliding Wings try to continue home mastery of Sabres

( - It may just be the right place and the right opponent for the Detroit Red Wings to snap their longest losing streak of the season.

Losers of six straight, the Red Wings look to beat the Buffalo Sabres for the sixth time in a row at home as the clubs clash on Tuesday night at Joe Louis Arena.

The Red Wings have gone stone cold on the offensive side of things during an 0-2-4 rut. They have just six goals in that span and have lost four times in a shootout, including Sunday's 2-1 setback to the Colorado Avalanche.

Pavel Datsyuk got Detroit on the board with a power-play tally in the third period, and Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar scored in the shootout to answer two Colorado goals in the Avalanche's first two chances in the tiebreaker.

Detroit's Petr Mrazek and Colorado's Calvin Pickard then matched one another save for save until Jarome Iginla's goal to begin the ninth round. Pickard then made a right pad save on Brendan Smith to secure the victory.

That dropped the Red Wings to 1-7 in shootouts this season despite 22 saves through overtime from Mrazek.

"I thought Mrazek gave us a great chance," Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock said. "Anytime your goalie makes as many saves as he did, you have to find a way to score some goals."

The rookie was starting in place of an injured Jimmy Howard (groin), but was unable to prevent the Red Wings from losing six in a row for the first time since an 0-4-2 losing streak from Dec. 7-17 of last year.

Detroit last lost seven in a row earlier that season, going 0-2-5 from Nov. 7-19.

The Red Wings hope to salvage the finale of a four-game homestand tonight and could opt to give Mrazek his first career appearance versus the Sabres despite Howard's injury not believed to be serious. However, he is day-to-day and the NHL begins a three-day break on Wednesday, so Howard would get additional rest.

Also a factor is that Detroit has not lost to Buffalo at home since Oct. 13, 2006, winning five straight meetings at Joe Louis Arena. The Red Wings also have won 14 of their past 16 at home in this series.

The Sabres did snap an eight-game slide to the Red Wings with a 3-2 shootout win at home on Nov. 2 in the first of four meetings this season.

Detroit forward Stephen Weiss is also possible for tonight's lineup, having not played since Dec. 12 due to a shoulder injury. He practiced without issue on Monday.

Buffalo has followed up a four-game win streak with three straight losses, falling 4-3 to Boston in overtime on Sunday. The Bruins got the game-tying goal with 1:31 left in regulation, then potted the game-winner 2:14 into overtime.

That denied the short-handed Sabres from getting the extra point as they went into the game minus Cody McCormick, Mike Weber, Torrey Mitchell and Tyson Strachan and Tyler Myers due to injury as well as Matt Moulson and Patrick Kaleta because of illness.

The Sabres then lost two more forwards during the game as Brian Gionta exited late in the first period after taking a high and hard hit from Boston's Matt Bartkowski. Gionta appeared to get hit in the head by Bartkowski's shoulder and stayed on the ice for a few moments before skating off.

Marcus Foligno then engaged in a fight with Bartkowski and suffered what is believed to be a significant upper-body injury, most likely to his hand.

"Yeah, I mean going down to three lines early and losing a couple more guys, just the way that the game ended you're disappointed, but the effort ... we couldn't have asked for more," Sabres coach Ted Nolan said. "They gave us everything they had."

Tim Schaller scored his first NHL goal, while Andrej Meszaros and Rasmus Ristolainen also lit the lamp for the Sabres. Schaller was recalled from the American Hockey League prior to the game and scored in his third career game.

"I used to go to games here growing up. I didn't even know how to celebrate," said the New Hampshire-born Schaller. "I'm excited to get the puck to my parents. That'll be special for them."

Jhonas Enroth stopped 33-of-37 shots in defeat. He also played the previous night and got the call again with Michal Neuvirth ill.

It is unknown if Enroth will start again this game or if Nolan will give Neuvirth just his third start of the month.

Enroth is 0-1-0 with a 1.89 goals against average and .936 save percentage in two games (1 start) versus the Red Wings while Neuvirth is 2-1-1 against them with a 3.10 GAA and .912 save percentage in four starts.