The Sabres came into Detroit looking to open the season with a road victory, but things didn’t exactly go as planned. The Red Wings took control early on and finished off the Sabres by a 2-1 score Wednesday night at Joe Louis Arena.
Buffalo managed to stay in the game despite falling behind in the opening period. With the goaltender pulled in the final minute of regulation, the Sabres were unable to generate any chances.
Brian Flynn’s hustle and hard work forced Jimmy Howard to turn the puck over, and the Sabres took advantage. Zemgus Girgensons was in front and he tallied his first NHL goal, drawing the Sabres to within one in the 3rd period, but that was all Buffalo would get.
“It definitely would be a better moment if we won,” Girgensons said. “Still, it was my first NHL goal. I’ll take the best out of it that I can.”
Ryan Miller kept the Sabres in the game after giving up two goals, making several key saves. Cory Emmerton was awarded a penalty shot in the 2nd period, while shorthanded, but Miller came up with the stop. Miller has now stopped 14 of 16 career penalty shots.
The Sabres had opportunities all night long despite being outshot 34-20. On two occasions, the Sabres had a 5-on-3 chance, but the power play was non existent, as they went 0-7 with the man advantage.
Last season, Buffalo’s power play was ranked 29th in the league. Tonight was no different. The Sabres generated chances, but they couldn’t convert on numerous opportunities.
“If we play that kind of hockey all year against good hockey teams, we’re going to be on the winning side of some of those,” Miller said.
Howard was solid in net for Detroit, stopping 19 of 20 shots. At the other end, Miller stopped 32 of 34.
Mikael Samuelsson started the scoring with a deflection from the stick of Cory Emmerton. Miller had no chance on the shot. Just 36 seconds later, the Red Wings added another goal, this time from Pavel Datsyuk.
The Red Wings have taken the first meeting of the season between these teams. Buffalo will face Detroit three more times before the regular season comes to an end.
Ron Rolston and the Sabres begin their season with a one-goal defeat against their new division rivals. Buffalo has an off day before their next game.
Buffalo will head home to prepare for the Senators on Friday night in the home opener at the First Niagara Center. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m.