The Buffalo Sabres have entered their annual holiday slump.
The Sabres lost at home to the Detroit Red Wings 7-2 last night, Buffalo's second defeat in as many nights.
"It just seems to fall around this time of year," said Sabres captain Michael Peca, whose club lost by 7-4 and 7-2 margins between Christmas and New Year's Day last season.
"You'd like it not to happen, especially when you're trying to battle back in the division and the conference. It's something we've got to move forward from," he said.
Pat Verbeek scored twice and Tomas Holmstrom and Igor Larionov each had a goal and two assists for the Red Wings.
Doug Brown, Niklas Lidstrom, and Aaron Ward also scored for Detroit, who hammered Buffalo with a six-goal outburst in the second period. Ken Wregget, who won his season-high third straight game, made 32 saves.
Miroslav Satan and Dixon Ward scored for Buffalo.
"It was a tough loss, especially at home," said Sabres Coach Lindy Ruff, whose team lost 4-1 at New Jersey on Monday night.
The Red Wings, 9-1 in their last 10 games and 11-2 in December, victimized Dwayne Roloson for four goals and Martin Biron for three. It marked the most goals allowed by Buffalo since a 7-2 loss to Anaheim on Jan 1.
"All of a sudden, this tornado hit," Peca said. "That was a tough thing to handle. I remember losing 7-1 or 7-2, but nothing that hit us as fast as that."
PREDATORS 3, HURRICANES 2: Rookies Richard Lintner and Randy Robitaille scored 44 seconds apart and Tomas Vokoun won his second straight start, as host Nashville defeated Carolina.
Kimmo Timonen also scored and Ville Peltonen had two assists for Nashville, which extended its unbeaten string to six (3-0-3).
COYOTES 2, RANGERS 2: At Pheonix, Bob Essensa made 35 saves for the second-straight game as Phoenix salvaged a tie against New York.
Jeremy Roenick scored one Phoenix goal and set up the other in the second period to put the Coyotes up 2-1. But the Rangers tied it at with 4:19 left in regulation on Kevin Hatcher's second goal of the season.