The puck dropped for a Saturday afternoon match-up between the Detroit Red Wings and the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center, with Linus Ullmark in front of the net. The home team sought to turn their season back in the right direction and was able to add two points to their total, despite a rocky start. It is also worth mentioning that, thanks to secondary scoring and smart defensive play, the Sabres never gave up a lead for the entire 60 minutes.
Perhaps the first big chance for the Sabres came nearly halfway through the opening period with a shot from Sam Reinhart that hit the goal’s crossbar and needed to be reviewed. It would be Reinhart, too, who would take the first penalty of the game at 11:19 for slashing on Red Wings’ Christoffer Ehn, but the score would remain 0-0 until the second period.
As the Sabres entered the locker room, the lack of shooting was most noticeable, with a disappointing four shots in 20 minutes of play.
As the second period went underway, Conor Sheary made an early impression thanks to an ugly turnover - a “big boo boo” as described by Rob Ray - in the Red Wings’ zone. The Sheary goal came at 1:15 and was unassisted, respectively.
The top shelf looked empty ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ pic.twitter.com/8osgFD74RH— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) February 9, 2019
Halfway through the period, Casey Mittelstadt recorded his eighth goal of the season on a beautiful pass across the ice from captain Jack Eichel. Rasmus Dahlin was also credited with an assist to make the Sabres lead by two and give Eichel his 41st point of the season - a career high for the 22-year-old.
It's like pinball, except better pic.twitter.com/YkolJ1sICp— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) February 9, 2019
Towards the expiration of the second period, a wrap-around goal by Dylan Larkin narrowed the Sabres’ lead to one at 17:14 with help from Thomas Vanek and Andreas Athanasiou. The excitement would not stop there, though, as the Sabres answered back with a power play goal in the last minute of play before the final intermission. The home team added a cushion to their lead once again with quick wrist shot from Kyle Okposo, following an almost comical amount of back and forth passing between Rasmus Ristolainen and Evan Rodrigues.
The next big chance for either team would come midway through through the final period, first with a quick shot on the goalpost from the Red Wings and then again at 11:19 as Reinhart was sent to the penalty box for slashing.
In the final minutes of play, the visiting team managed to get back on the power play once again and with the help of an empty net, put the pressure on hard with a two-man advantage. But, it mattered not, as the Sabres flourished on the penalty kill once again and the final score remained 3-1, handing Buffalo a much-needed win in regulation on home ice.
The Sabres will look to make it two in a row when they host the Winnipeg Jets tomorrow, February 10th, at 3:00 PM.
Final: Sabres 3, Red Wings 1
Shots on Goal: Sabres 21 | Red Wings 29
Sabres Goal Scorers: Sheary (9), Mitteltstadt (8), Okposo (10)
Red Wings Goal Scorers: Larkin (23)
Three Stars of the Game
- Conor Sheary
- Casey Mittelstadt
- Linus Ullmark