Detroit was not the ideal match-up for Buffalo’s injury depleted club, but that’s who they played. Joe Finley was starting his first game as a Buffalo Sabre, Brayden McNabb and Zack Kassian were also in the lineup for Buffalo. Matt Ellis was a healthy scratch while Paul Szczechura and Corey Tropp were demoted to Rochester. TJ Brennan was also sent down due to injury.
The Sabres lost 4-1 with three goals against coming in the first period. Sloppy play and bad goaltending crushed the Sabres hopes of a win before they could even begin to mount a comeback. Their lone goal came far too late and with too little sustained pressure to make a difference.
The Sabres got off to a poor start to the night. The Red Wings took advantage when Jakub Kindl took a weak shot from the point that found its way through Jhonas Enroth and into the Sabres net. Joe Finley and Ville Leino looked particularly out of position on the goal.
Detroit struck again with Jason Pominville in the box for high-sticking. Johan Franzen walked into the slot with Derek Roy trying to stay with him. Franzen found the top corner after Nichlas Lidstrom took a shot that squibbed right to “The Mule”. This was Buffalo’s 5th power play goal allowed in as many games.
Valtteri Filppula scored the third goal of the game as Jochen Hecht coughed up puck at his defensive blueline to Henrik Zetterberg. Filppula drove into the zone with support beside the net and Marc-Andre Gragnani missed with the poke check. Filppula made no mistake and the Sabres were in trouble.
For much of the first period Buffalo looked lackluster and out of position.Detroit was buzzing from the very first moments and the Sabres struggled to have any sort of offensive pressure. They were only able to generate a few scoring chances while Detroit threw 17 shots on goal.
Buffalo’s weak offensive and defensive play continued through the rest of the game. They generated more shots zone time, but it was well controlled by the Red Wings. Detroit seemed content to let the Sabres try shooting while Jimmy Howard gobbled up anything near the net.
The Sabres finally got the Sabres on the board with Jochen Hecht’s 3rd goal in 3 games. Detroit was caught in the zone and Hecht joined Pomville in the 2-on-1. Leino was credited with the other assist. This came too late in the 3rd period for Buffalo to really entertain thoughts of a comeback.
Pavel Datsyuk made sure it was over when he converted a Christian Ehrhoff giveaway into an empty net goal to seal the victory. Enroth ended the game with 32 saves on 35 shots. Howard stopped 26 of 27.
Buffalo returns to action tomorrow night in Nashville. Buffalo will look to snap a two game losing streak.
Notes: Patrick Kaleta and Nathan Gerbe left the ice with injuries, neither returned. Joe Finley was limited to 7:51 in ice time and looked very over matched.