Buffalo Sabres Narrowly Outlast Red Wings

Reinhart scores game-winner early in third period

Final Score: Sabres 3 | Red Wings 2

Shots on Goal: Red Wings 25 | Sabres 29

Sabres Goal Scorers: Conor Sheary (8), Marcus Johansson (7), Sam Reinhart (21)

Red Wings Goal Scorers: Darren Helm (7,8)

Plus 1: A Necessary Win

If you can’t beat the worst team in the NHL, you may have a problem. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case for the Sabres on Tuesday night, as they narrowly defeated the league-worst Red Wings. Overall, there was nothing spectacular about Tuesday’s performance; the Sabres had to twice rally back from deficits, and it’s only thanks to an early third-period goal from Sam Reinhart that they got two points.

Plus 2: Marcus Johansson

Marcus Johansson had a decent game on Tuesday. Not only did he score the Sabres’ second goal of the night; he also assisted on Conor Sheary’s opening tally. The goal was his first in 15 games. Overall, Johansson now has 24 points on the season. He was on the ice for all three Sabres goals and played 17:27, fourth among forwards (behind only Reinhart, Eichel and... Curtis Lazar?)

Minus 1: Slow Start

A slow start nearly cost the Sabres yet another game. Buffalo didn’t come out of the gate ready to play, and the Red Wings quickly capitalized. Just 27 seconds in, Darren Helm put his team ahead, forcing the Sabres to play catch-up with the game barely underway.

Thankfully, their response was quick, as Sheary’s goal came just 1:03 into the game - but that won’t always be the case. The Sabres need to work on their starts; let’s not forget Sunday’s game, when the Ducks took a 3-0 lead just 12 minutes in.

Of course, the Sabres also need to work on playing consistently through 60 minutes. They failed to record a shot on goal in the last 11 minutes of the first period, which is simply inexcusable.

Minus 1: There’s No Power Here

The Sabres went 0-3 on the power play Tuesday night. In a tight game that was often tied or saw Buffalo trying to climb back from a deficit, one power-play chance can mean the difference between a win and a loss. Overall, Buffalo is 18.8 percent on the power play this season, 22nd in the NHL.

Final Thoughts

I’m not going to give the Sabres a ton of credit for beating the Red Wings; you should beat the worst team in the league, and you should really be winning by more than one goal - not coming back from deficits twice and barely hanging on for a victory. In the end, it’s two points that count in the standings, but Buffalo’s play will not result in sustainable success.