Sabres vs. Red Wings recap: Sabres can't channel Hasek's magic, lose 3-1

The Sabres set a new franchise record for futility with their eighth straight regulation loss on the same night they retired the number of on of their all-time greats.

Tonight's game began with a look back at the 1990's, to an undermanned Buffalo Sabres team that worked hard but was constantly outshot, was coached by Ted Nolan to varying degrees of success, and managed to somehow gel together and become a great team based mostly on the strength of their all-world goaltender.

Tonight's game ended with an undermanned, Ted Nolan-coached squad outshot and outscored by a superior Red Wings team. The difference between then and now? Dominik Hasek was watching from the owner's box rather than from between the pipes.

In Hasek's second honorary night in a year (he was inducted into the Buffalo Sabres Hall of Fame last season) the Sabres couldn't muster up any of the old magic from those '90s teams, and fell to the Detroit Red Wings by a 3-1 final. The loss was the eighth straight regulation loss for the Sabres, setting a new franchise record. So I suppose there were two franchise-altering happenings tonight.

The scoring opened with the Sabres on the power play, a unit that;s done almost as much harm as good, as they promptly gave up a shorthanded goal to the Wings. As Mike Harrington was the first to note, the Sabres power play has given up a league-leading seven shorthanded goals and has scored just 11. This team continues to break new and unusual ground in the tanking department.

The Red Wings spent most of the remainder of the game skating circles around the Sabres, as expected, and keeping Buffalo chances to a minimum. They only made one major mistake, allowing a few Sabres to get free on an odd man rush that resulted in Buffalo's only goal, scored by...Mike Weber? Yes, a beautiful tic-tac-toe passing play involving Weber. Drew Stafford, Matt Ellis, and Brian Flynn gave Sabres fans a taste of what real NHL hockey is supposed to be like sometimes.

Sadly, that was all the offense Buffalo would muster until the final minute. Matt Moulson and Tyler Ennis had their chances, combining for seven shots, but neither of the teams two best offensive players could get the puck past Petr Mrazek, who played a nice game filling in for the injured Detroit netminders.

The Sabres next game should be a doozy, as the floundering Minnesota Wild come to town on Thursday. By rule, one of these teams has to break their losing streak, and I'm sure it will be a riveting contest to watch.

Three Questions

1. Let's be honest, tonight is all about Dominik Hasek. What will his number retirement ceremony look like?

Hasek's ceremony was, like everything the Pegulas do these days, very professional and classy. However, it was also short and a bit awkwardly presented. After a short highlight video with commentary from Rick Jeanneret, Hasek came out to a huge ovation. He gave a nice speech where he thanked former players and the fans, brought out some Hasek's Heroes kids, and then his banner was presented by Danny Gare and Rene Robert, and raised up.

All in all it was about 15 minutes, and I think we all just wanted a bit more for the greatest goalie in Sabres (and possibly NHL) history, especially coming on the heels of Teemu Selanne's 90 minute love-fest a few days ago. The team did play old Hasek highlights and commercials during intermissions, and having gare and Robert presenting the banner was a cool touch. But regardless of what you thought of the cermony, it was great to hear Hasek, and it's fantastic to see his jersey where it belongs, in the rafters with the rest of the Sabres greats.

2. Will the Sabres be able to take advantage of the Red Wings goalie injuries?

While the Sabres managed a respectable number of shots (compared to their usually abysmal total) it wasn't enough to power them past the Wings. Petr Mrazek was solid all night, limiting rebounds and not giving the Sabres too much to work with. He was beaten only by a nifty tic-tac-toe passing play, and wasn't challenged too much on any of the other 25 shots he managed to stop.

3. Zac Dalpe makes his Sabres debut tonight - how will he look?

Dalpe Wasn't much of a factor tonight at all, relegated to fourth line duty. Dalpe finished with exactly eight minutes of ice time, one shot and one hit. He'll likely stay on the fourth line for the duration of his stay in Buffalo. Another surprise call up, Matt Ellis, helped power the Sabres only goal by leading the rush that eventually ended in Mike Weber's lone tally.

Comment of the Game

Mike Weber just scored a goal which is probably the most miraculous thing Dominik Hasek has ever been involved in.

NOW DO YOU BELIEVE?!?! No? OK, then.