Sabres at Red Wings: Five Things to Know on last trip to The Joe - The Buffalo News
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Sabres at Red Wings: Five Things to Know on last trip to The Joe

DETROIT -- The Buffalo Sabres have a unique game here Monday night against the Detroit Red Wings, as it will be their final visit to Joe Louis Arena. The NHL's oldest building, which has hugged the Detroit River since 1979, is closing after the season and will be replaced by Little Caesars Arena in the downtown core in the fall.

Tonight's game is a 7:30 start on NBC Sports Network with Kenny Albert on the call. Dan Dunleavy and Rob Ray have the call on WGR Radio. Here are Five Things to Know about Buffalo's last trip to The Joe:

Last game, first game: The Sabres' final visit here is the first NHL game for defenseman Brady Austin, who said his mother and two brothers will make the six-hour drive from Bobcaygeon, Ont., to watch his debut after his recall from Rochester.

"It's a dream come true," Austin said after today's optional morning skate. "You have to stick with things, keep working, play the systems we've been taught down there and good things can happen.

"It's pretty incredible to get this chance and it's my first game here.  There were some OHL games here I wasn't in and it's awesome to play one of the last games at the Joe."

Austin joins Nelson in getting call from Rochester

Lineup notes: Coach Dan Bylsma said Austin will be paired with Zach Bogosian while Casey Nelson, also called up today, will skate with Jake McCabe. In goal, it will be Robin Lehner (19-22-8, 2.68/.921) against Detroit's Petr Mrazek (16-19-7, 3.04/.899).

Sabres at The Joe: The Sabres are 13-23-6 at Joe Louis Arena, and their 4-3 win on Dec. 27 gave them two wins in three last three visits after they had lost eight straight. Gilbert Perreault is Buffalo's all-time leading scorer here with 14 points in 10 games (eight goals, six assists).

Bylsma, of course, won Game Seven of the Stanley Cup final here in 2009 for Pittsburgh as the Penguins pulled out a 2-1 victory on a last-second save by Marc-Andre Fleury off Nicklas Lidstrom.

"I kind of have stapled in my brain the last five seconds," said Bylsma, a Michigan native who saw his first NHL game here in the early 1980s. "Pretty much every time I step on that bench, I'm holding my breath for Lidstrom at the side of the net and Fleury's save. I always have those kind of flashback memories every time I step back in here. To me, this was the ultimate destination point for playing hockey."

Rare run vs. Wings: The Sabres are 2-0-1 against Detroit this season and own back-to-back wins against Detroit for the first time since March 6, 1994 and Nov. 1, 1995. They have not won three straight over the Wings since the 1988-89 season. They have not won two straight at The Joe since winning their first five games here from Feb. 16, 1980 to Dec. 12,  1981.

Current streaks: The Sabres are 3-8-2 in their last 13 overall and 1-6 on the road, in the wake of Friday's shootout win at Anaheim. The Red Wings have won two straight after a 1-5-1 slide, scoring five goals apiece in back-to-back wins over Arizona and Colorado. If the game goes overtime, remember this: The Wings are 4-11 in game-winning goals -- but 8-0 in shootouts.

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