Score: Red Wings 4, Sabres 3
Shots: BUF: 32 DET: 33
Buffalo Sabres: Goals: Tage Thompson (1), Rasmus Dahlin (1), Arttu Ruotsalainen (1)
Detroit Red Wings: Goals: Pius Suter (1), Tyler Bertuzzi (2), Moritz Seider (1)
Plus 1: Sabres Score on Power Play, Put in Effort to Get a Lead
Detroit scored within the first seconds of the game by jamming the puck into the net with a goal by Pius Suter. The Sabres started to play more aggressively during the second half of the first period. Buffalo got a power play toward the end of the period, when Robby Fabbri tripped Tage Thompson. The Sabres failed to score on their first power play, but the team continued to be aggressive and dominated the Red Wings throughout the second period.
Tage Thompson scored a goal to tie the game midway through the second and Rasmus Dahlin made it 2-1 Sabres on a Joe Veleno holding penalty. The Sabres have been weak on power play scoring, so watching Dahlin take the lead was a welcome development for Buffalo fans. The Sabres would continue to put in effort into the third and add to their lead with an Arttu Ruotsalainen goal 6:52 into the period.
Plus 2: Val James Recognition
The Buffalo Sabres honored Val James, who played seven games with the Sabres during the 1981-82 season. James was the first American born Black player to compete in the NHL. Nice to see the team and the league recognize diversity in professional sports.
Minus 1: Sabres Blow Lead Again, Let Opponent Back in the Game
KaptenVendetta had the comment of the game: “There’s something about this team and losing multigoal leads, and quickly.” Buffalo has failed to close out games in the third period, most recently against teams on the road including Los Angeles and Seattle and now at home versus Detroit.
The Sabres held a three-goal lead into the 3rd period and killed off a Dylan Cozens tripping penalty. With 6:36 left in the game, Buffalo needed to continue to play aggressively and close out the period. Instead, the Sabres allowed Tyler Bertuzzi to get two goals in less than two minutes and force an overtime. Detroit was able to win it with a Moritz Seider goal with two minutes remaining in OT.
Minus 2: Refs Slow to Blow the Whistle on 1st Goal, Don’t Call Penalty During OT
Any Sabres fans who lived through Game 6 of the 1999 Stanley Cup Finals against the Dallas Stars never looked at the NHL’s officials the same way again. It’s easy to fault the refs and Gary Bettman when the Sabres play terribly. However, officials were slow to blow the whistle on Dustin Tokarski’s frozen puck that led to the first Red Wings goal. They also could have called too many men on the ice before Detroit’s OT clincher but chose not to. The Sabres deserve most of the blame for losing but sloppy officiating also played a part.
The Buffalo Sabres need to get back to playing 60 minutes of consistent hockey. Instead, they’re taking their foot off the gas in the 3rd period and snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. The team started the season putting in a solid effort in most games but now looks like the old Sabres that become too complacent when they get a lead and come up short when the game clock runs out. One point in overtime won’t help them snap a four-game losing streak or fill the seats at KeyBank Center.
Buffalo goes on the road to face the Washington Capitals in D.C. on Monday night at 7pm.