Make it eight games in a row for the Buffalo Sabres. The Sabres have yet to cash in a win in the 2015 calendar year, as the losing woes continue in Buffalo.
On the night when Dominik Hasek had his number 39 raised to the rafters at the First Niagara Center, the Sabres were outmatched by the visiting Detroit Red Wings by a final score of 3-1.
“That team is a great cycle team,” defenseman Mike Weber said following the loss. “When you let a team like that just cycle around, they are gonna make you look pretty stupid sometimes. Once we were able to eliminate the first guy in the cycle and get to some loose pucks, we were able to be better defensively. [Neuvirth] made some big saves for us to keep us in it early, but we give up a [shorthanded goal], a powerplay goal, and a five-on-five goal. We’re killing ourselves.”
Weber was the only goal scorer for the Sabres on Tuesday, scoring at the 13:24 mark of the first period to cut the Red Wings lead, at the time, to one. Weber finished the game with two shots, two hits and two blocked shots in 19:16 of total ice-time.
Darren Helm got the Red Wings out in front early thanks to a shorthanded goal just 9:42 into the game. Gustav Nyqvist scored a powerplay goal in the 7:34 mark of the second period to put Detroit up by two. And just 1:45 after Weber’s goal to cut the lead to one, Tomas Tatar put Detroit up by two again.
Petr Mrazek made 25 saves on 26 shots faced, including eight in the third period to shut the door and get a win on a night where he played in front of his idol, and fellow countryman in Dominik Hasek.
Michal Neuvirth, also a Czech-born player, made 27 saves on 30 shots faced, but was peppered throughout the night by the Red Wings offense. Neuvirth has not won a game in which he started since November 15 against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
For the Sabres, the team needed to cut down on too many mistakes, especially against good teams like the Red Wings.
“We have been helping teams beat us,” Sabres head coach Ted Nolan said regarding the mistakes. “No disrespect, but that team we played tonight was a very good team. They are highly skilled, there is no panic in their game. They are well coached, well positioned. When you make mistakes, they make you pay.”
The Sabres now fall to 14-27-3, and still sit just two points out of last place in the NHL standings. The Sabres will await the arrival of the Minnesota Wild, and will play them Thursday night from the First Niagara Center. Opening face-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. The game can be seen on MSG Network and be heard on WGR 550 A-M.