This was a classic case of a game a team like the Red Wings needed to win, going against one of the worst teams in the NHL.

And though it wasn't a thing of beauty — far from it — the Red Wings managed to come away with two points, defeating the lowly Buffalo Sabres 3-1.

The Red Wings were without forwards Pavel Datsyuk (possible concussion) and Todd Bertuzzi (upper body), but managed to muster just enough offense against the young and confidence-sapped Sabres.

Johan Franzen's power-play goal at 11:43 of the third period broke a 1-1 tie.

After the Red Wings failed to score, but dominated on a previous power play in the period, they didn't waste this opportunity.

Franzen cut toward the middle of the ice and lined a shot that caromed off the stick of Buffalo defenseman Christian Ehroff, then the leg of Sabres defenseman Alexander Sulzer and past goalie Ryan Miller (East Lansing, Michigan State).

It was Franzen's sixth goal of the season.

Daniel Alfredsson, in his first game back after missing five with a groin injury, added his fourth goal into an empty net with 48 seconds left.

Darren Helm added the other Red Wings’ (11-7-7, 29 points) goal. Goalie Jonas Gustavsson earned the victory (5-0-1), and has yet to lose in regulation this season.

Cody Hodgson scored for the Sabres (5-19-1, 11 points), who've lost four consecutive games and own the worst record in the league.