Bernier, Wings aim to build off momentum vs. Sabres

Jonathan Bernier has emerged as the No. 1 goaltender for the Detroit Red Wings. With steady playing time, Bernier has made the Red Wings a tougher team to beat.Detroit, which has the NHL’s worst record, carries a three-game home winning streak into its matchup with the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday.Bernier, who was sharing playing time with Jimmy Howard earlier in the season, has patrolled the nets in each of those victories.Bernier made several tough saves in the third period and overtime against Ottawa on Friday to keep the game tied. He didn’t allow a goal during the shootout, lifting the Red Wings to a 3-2 victory.”We’ve just built from him out, confidence in our team.” first line center Dylan Larkin said. “He’s done a great job. He’s really been a calming factor back there. He’s made the saves he’s had to. He’s been great for us. He’s been everything, I think.”Bernier has a 10-12-2 record with an improving .904 save percentage. He’s started five of the last six games, recording a .936 save percentage and the team’s lone shutout win, when he turned aside 34 shots versus San Jose on New Year’s Eve.Bernier had a 9-18-5 mark last season after signing a three-year contract with Detroit.”The numbers say he is a better goalie when he plays more. That’s just the history of it,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “I would probably say that’s true of lots of guys. It’s easier to get in a groove, it’s easier to kind of keep rolling with it, so he’s done a good job.”He had a tough start to his time here in Detroit last season, the beginning of this season, neither one were probably what he wanted. The thing about him is he keeps a positive attitude, he keeps digging in and he works. I think that work’s paying off.”Larkin carries a five-game point streak into Sunday’s contest. Larkin scored a power-play goal on an end-to-end rush on Friday, then had the only goal during the shootout on Friday.