Red Wings fail to cool hot Sabres, fall in shootout

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
Buffalo Sabres left wing Jeff Skinner (53) celebrates his goal on Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard (35) with teammates center Sam Reinhart (23) and right wing Kyle Okposo (21) during the first period.

Detroit — Similar to 24 hours earlier, the Red Wings had plenty of chances to earn a victory Saturday against Buffalo.

But for the second day in a row, victory eluded the Red Wings.

They earned a point, but ultimately lost 3-2 in a shootout.

And it was a long shootout. Buffalo finally edged the Wings 2-1 in the seventh round when Sam Reinhart beat goaltender Jimmy Howard, securing the Sabres’ their ninth consecutive victory.

BOX SCORE: Sabres 3, Red Wings 2, shootout

“It was a pretty good hockey game, but in the end we have to find a way to make that extra play,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said.

Similar to Friday’s loss in Washington the Red Wings weren’t dangerous on the power play — they were 0-for-4, although Anthony Mantha’s tying goal came only 4 seconds after a power play expired — and Buffalo scored twice on the power play, capitalizing on the Wings’ penalty kill.

“The difference was similar to (Friday in Washington), in the sense our specialty teams let us down a little bit and we didn’t score on our chances,” Blashill said. “We certainly played good hockey, I can’t say we were perfect. They played pretty good hockey.”

Mantha and Dylan Larkin scored for the Wings, while goaltender Jimmy Howard stopped 33 shots.

Jeff Skinner and Tage Thompson had Buffalo power-play goals, while goaltender Linus Ullmark made 35 saves.

The Sabres improved to 16-6-2, while the Wings are 10-10-3.

“We had opportunities (but) Ullmark came up big for them,” Howard said.

Mantha tipped in his seventh goal at 13:52 of the third period, after Tyler Bertuzzi deflected Mike Green’s shot just after a power-play expired, tying the score 2-2.

Ullmark appeared to make the save, but the puck trickled by him, and Mantha nudged the loose puck into the net.

Thompson’s one-timer on the power play at 7:40 of the third period broke a 1-1 tie.

Thompson’s goal came just seconds after Ullmark stopped Larkin on a breakaway, one of several big saves by Ullmark in the third period.

“It was a good hockey game, a fast game,” Larkin said. “They really impressed me with their team speed, and how their defense is active, it was just good back and forth.

“It was a fun game to be part of. We had tons of chances we should have capitalized on. It could have gone either way. We’re going to look back and think we deserved better, but it was a fun game to be part of.”

The teams traded goals — and plenty of quality scoring chances — during the first 40 minutes.

Larkin tied the score 1-1 just 53 seconds into the second period on a goal Ullmark didn’t look good on.

Larkin snapped a shot from near the sideboards, just outside the circle, and somehow beat Ullmark near the post for his 10th goal.

Buffalo took a 1-0 lead on Skinner’s power-play goal in the first period.

Skinner, in the slot, jumped on a rebound of Jack Eichel’s shot and snapped it past Howard for his 18th goal at 3:37.

“I certainly thought we played good enough to win,” Blashill said. “We just didn’t score.”

Twitter: @tkulfan