The Red Wings moved into a tie for third place in the Atlantic Division with the Ottawa Senators following the team’s second home win in a row, this time against the Buffalo Sabres. After finishing a four-game road trip in which they won twice, they are now on a five-game homestand. Usually, October/November is a home-heavy time for Detroit, whereas January/February consists of more road games; this season is the opposite.
Prior to this homestand, the Wings had won only two of six games at Little Caesars Arena.
It was a lackluster start for both squads. Considering Detroit’s 8-2 victory over the Flames, none of that energy came into play in the first period. Shots were 8-6 in a scoreless stanza.
In the middle frame, Detroit outshot Buffalo 13-4, as fourth-line forward Luke Glendening broke the scoreless tie with 55 seconds remaining. Once the deadlock was broken, the flood gates were open.
In the third period, Buffalo’s Ryan O’Reilly wasted little time tying the game following a fortunate rebound opportunity. Defenseman Nick Jensen attempted to block the shot but was unsuccessful. Coach Jeff Blashill would challenge for goalie interference, but his case fell on deaf ears and the call on the ice stood as a good goal.
Nearly three minutes later, Tomas Tatar put the Red Wings back on top with a long wrist shot, beating goalie Robin Lehner.
Dylan Larkin continued his bounce-back season with a goal to make it 3-1, the final score. He is now tied (4-15-19) for the team lead in scoring with Anthony Mantha (10-9-19).
Although the Sabres finished with only 20 shots, many of those chances came on breakaways due to Wings turnovers. Detroit had 16 giveaways on the night, an astonishingly high figure. Most of those plays resulted from lazy passes and poor puck management.
However, Jimmy Howard was outstanding per usual, and holding Buffalo scoreless for over 40 minutes was the main reason for the win.
Strength of Schedule
5 of the next 7 games are against opponents who can be considered beatable (Colorado, Edmonton, New York Rangers, Montreal, Montreal). All of this during a nine-game stretch of which only one game is on the road.
Not Too Shabby
Detroit’ ranks respectively well in many categories thus far. Their goals-for of 60 is equal or greater than 20 other NHL teams, while only two teams are significantly higher. Their +6 goal differential is equal or greater than 19 teams, including first place New Jersey (+3), and third place Nashville (0) and Calgary (-4).
The power play and penalty kill are both good for 7th best in the league.
Notes: Luke Witkowski will be out of the lineup for 10 games following his suspension resulting from the brawl on Wednesday (vs. Calgary).
Detroit takes on the Colorado Avalanche Sunday at 6:00 ET.