Detroit (16-10-0) at Buffalo (12-13-1)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Buffalo, NY
Temp: 74° F
  • Game info: 8:00 pm EST Wed Dec 10, 2003
  • TV: ESPN2
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Brett Hull doesn’t appear to be slowing down, but he does have a long way to go before moving up any further on the NHL career goal list.

After claiming sole possession of third place Monday, Hull looks to continue his scoring surge as the Detroit Red Wings go for their sixth win in eight games in a matchup with the Buffalo Sabres at HSBC Arena.

Hull scored the game-winner in Monday’s 3-2 overtime victory over visiting Los Angeles for his 732nd career goal, snapping a tie with Marcel Dionne and placing him behind only Wayne Gretzky (894) and Gordie Howe (801).

The 39-year-old Hull has scored in seven straight games and has 11 goals over the last 13 to take over the team lead with 16 on the season. Through Monday’s action, he was the NHL’s third-leading goal scorer this season.

“Just to be there behind Wayne Gretzky and Gordie Howe, I can’t put it into words,” said Hull, who also had an assist. “One guy is known as the greatest player ever and the other guy is known as Mr. Hockey.”

It isn’t outlandish to give Hull a chance at catching Howe. He has averaged more than 35 goals the last three seasons and has missed just one game since signing with Detroit prior to the 2001-02 season.

“He’s always dangerous out there,” Kings forward Luc Robitaille said. “Everybody knows he finds a spot. Everybody wants to check him, but he always finds that spot. Pretty amazing how he does it.”

The Wings now begin a three-game road trip after improving to 10-3 at Joe Louis Arena. They are 6-7-3 on the road this season and 2-2-2 in their last six away from home.

Detroit, however, will be without goaltender Dominik Hasek and defenseman Chris Chelios for this trip, which includes games at Chicago on Thursday and at Washington on Saturday.

The team learned Tuesday that Chelios would miss three to four weeks with a sprained knee and Hasek would be sidelined the rest of the week after aggravating a groin injury Monday.

Curtis Joseph was recalled from the minors Tuesday, less than a week after clearing waivers and being sent down, to fill in for Hasek and may get the start Wednesday. Backup goalie Manny Legace injured his knee during warmups Monday and is day-to-day.

Buffalo suffered its third defeat in four games with a 3-1 loss to Tampa Bay on Saturday.

The Sabres lost for the first time in regulation this season when scoring the first goal of the game. They fell to 0-2 on a four-game homestand, which ends Friday against the New York Rangers.

Goaltender Ryan Miller was called up Monday, and Buffalo’s timing with that move appears to have been perfect. Shortly after Miller was recalled, goalie Mika Noronen suffered a cut to his neck during practice.

That injury will force Noronen to miss this game, and Miller is likely to get the start in favor of a struggling Martin Biron.

“I was lucky it didn’t go deeper,” Noronen said of the two-inch gash. “I’m disappointed that I can’t play against (Detroit) because they’re such a good team. But what can you do?”

STANDINGS (through Dec. 8): Red Wings - 35 points, 1st place, Central Division. Sabres - 27 points, 5th place, 52 PB, Northeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Red Wings - Hull, 16 goals and 30 points; Mathieu Schneider, 18 assists; Darryl Bootland, 63 PIM. Sabres - Dumont, 10 goals and 23 points; Dumont, Daniel Briere and Chris Drury, 13 assists; Andrew Peters, 71 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Dec. 8): Red Wings - Power play: 24.6 percent (29 for 118), 2nd in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.4 percent (92 for 109), 14th. Sabres - Power play: 13.2 percent (16 for 121), 24th. Penalty killing: 85.4 percent (117 for 137), 10th.

GOALTENDERS: Red Wings - Legace (6-4-1, 1 SO, 2.27 GAA); Joseph (2-3-0, 1, 3.12). Sabres - Miller (0-2-0, 4.07); Biron (6-7-2, 2.73)

2002-03 SEASON SERIES: Red Wings, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Feb. 13; Wings, 4-2. At Detroit, ex-Red Wing Sergei Fedorov scored two goals to help extend the Sabres’ losing streak to eight games.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Red Wings - 6-7-3-0 on the road; Sabres - 6-5-1-1 at home.

Related Articles

Team Stat Leaders

Goals
Assists
Points
Plus/Minus