The Sabres came into Joe Lewis Arena with a two-game win streak. They left with a could’ve-would’ve feeling, knowing they should’ve made it three straight.
Brad Richards scored the only goal of the shootout to give the Red Wings a 5-4 win over the Sabres on Tuesday night. Petr Mrazek notched the win for Detroit. Linus Ullmark made some phenomenal saves, but also let in a few softies and took the loss.
It was a wildly entertaining game with plenty of offense, some fisticuffs and end-to-end action. These Atlantic Division foes will meet four more times, the next being Monday, December 14 in Detroit. If they’re anything like this one, circle them on your calendar.
The Wings came ready to play. Tomas Tatar, celebrating his birthday, put the Red Wings on the board first, just 1:34 into the game. Nicolas Deslauriers had him covered but inexplicably let him go. Open in the slot, Tatar backhanded home his 9th of the season.
Justin Abdelkader’s sixth of the year made it 2-0 as he re-directed Ericsson’s shot from the point. The fluttering puck went off Abdelkader’s right shoulder and left arm, up and over Ullmark, then dribbled into the net.
Evander Kane finally got the Sabres on the board. Skating down the right side on 2-on-1 breakaway, he lasered a wrister from 35 feet, past Mrazek glove side.
The Red Wings took a 3-1 lead when Luke Glendening outbattled David Legwand on the wall. Drew Miller worked a give and go with Abdelkader, receiving a pass from behind the net then roofing one over Ullmark’s shoulder. It’s one Linus should’ve had as he sat back against the post. Had he been out to challenge at all, there would’ve been no place to put it.
The game got feisty as Kane tried to pick a fight with Zetterberg before Brendan Smith interceded to protect his captain. Smith picked up an extra two minutes, giving the Sabres a power play. They only needed five seconds as Girgensons, in front of the net, deflected Ristolainen’s shot from the point. His first goal in eleven games pulled the Sabres within reach, down 3-2.
A few minutes later, Abdelkader hooked Josh Gorges, sending him crashing into the wall. He promptly got up and dropped the gloves with Abdelkader. They both got majors, with Abdelkader getting an extra two minutes.
Taking advantage of the remaining power play time to start the third, the Sabres quickly tied the game at three. Kane, following up on his initial shot, grabbed the rebound and snapped a shot past Mrazek’s glove side for his second of the night.
Just a few minutes later, the Sabres took their first lead of the night, going up 4-3. Zach Bogosian’s low shot through traffic went by a totally screened Mrazek. He never saw it.
With Gionta in the box for a penalty he should’ve never taken, Abdelkader’s 7th of the season and 2nd of the night tied it at four. Nyquist gained the blue line, shoveled the puck to Abdelkader at the right sideboard. Abdelkader then cut to the net and fired it five hole on Ullmark. It was the Red Wings’ first power play goal in four games.
Though they only had two shots in the overtime, the Sabres controlled nearly the entire period, thanks to a rare power play.
With five out of their last possible six points, the Sabres return home to face the Arizona Coyotes on Friday at First Niagara Center. Game time is set for 7 p.m. After that, they’ll embark on a three-game road trip out west against Edmonton, Vancouver and Calgary.