Sabres look for defense vs. visiting Red Wings
The Buffalo Sabres are becoming the NHL's version of the Cardiac Kids, but the late drama is starting to wear on some members of the Atlantic Division club.
The Sabres (26-20-7) will host divisional rival Detroit on Saturday afternoon at KeyBank Center. The meeting is the second between the clubs, with Buffalo earning a 3-2 shootout win on the road on Nov. 24.
The victory was the Sabres' ninth straight in a streak that three days later reached 10 wins, a feat they last turned in the 2006-07 season.
That first meeting has been a perfect example of how recent games have been playing out for Buffalo at home lately, and fans have had reason to hold on until the final buzzer in the last two contests of the club's season-long seven-game homestand.
Buffalo led late before being taken to the shootout by Minnesota on Tuesday, but the home side won in the one-on-one session when Sam Reinhart scored in the third round of the shootout and goalie Linus Ullmark stopped all three Wild attempts in a 5-4 victory.
More excitement ensued in a wild back and forth game on Thursday with Carolina, who entered the game tied with Buffalo with 58 points.
Jeff Skinner's second third-period marker tied the game 5-5 late in a Sabres rally, but the Hurricanes' Teuvo Teravainen scored his second goal of the game for a 6-5 win in the overtime session to propel his team past Buffalo in the standings - though both are still on the outside looking in at postseason play.
Teravainen's game-winner was frustrating for the enthusiastic Buffalo fans to watch.
The crowd came alive on Skinner's tying tally, but Carolina's Finnish winger, who was knocked hard into the boards by Jack Eichel and lost his stick 14 seconds earlier behind Ullmark's goal, made his mark with the game's lasting impression.
He raced in and scored on a breakaway after the puck looped around to him on the boards following an errant, long shot by Eichel, and the fallout of the OT defeat carried over into the Buffalo dressing room afterward.
"Too many mistakes. We can't expect to win hockey games, 6-5, 7-6. We need more from our goalies and we need it from the start of hockey games. It's frustrating," said Reinhart, whose group has given up 45 goals in the last 10 games.
Added coach Phil Housley when asked to assess Buffalo's defensive unit: "That's (GM) Jason's (Botterill) job."
The Red Wings (21-26-7) dropped a 4-3 decision to visiting Vegas on Thursday as the Golden Knights scored three times in the second period to take control after Detroit led 1-0 after one period.
Winners of three of their last four games, Detroit got goals from Gustav Nyquist (12 points in 12 games) and rookie Michael Rasmussen before Thomas Vanek scored with three seconds left in the teams' first match.
Selected ninth overall by Detroit in the 2017 draft, Rasmussen also recorded an assist on Vanek's goal, giving him the first multi-point game of his career. He missed the previous 10 contests due to a hamstring issue.
"He's only 19, but he's already an elite net-front player in this league, and that alone is going to get him 20 or 25 goals a year if we do a good job of delivering the puck," Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said.
--Field Level Media
Updated February 8, 2019