Wings let Sabres loiter, loot point in shootout loss

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Buffalo, N.Y. — This was a disappointing point lost for the Red Wings.

Playing the lowly Buffalo Sabres, the Red Wings lost 3-2 in a shootout, a game that appeared to get more dangerous for the Red Wings the longer it went and Buffalo remained close.

"Any team that hasn't won a lot, when they still hang around in a game, they're dangerous," Henrik Zetterberg said. "If you look at their lineup, they have some good players, and their goalie (Michal Neuvirth) played well and unfortunately we couldn't get it done."

The Sabres won the shootout 2-1 with Gustav Nyquist the lone goal scorer — Pavel Datsyuk and Zetterberg getting stopped by Neuvirth, who stopped 36 shots before the shootout.

Buffalo played the night before, losing 5-0 in Pittsburgh. But the Sabres came out and played suffocating defense, stalled the Red Wings enough to stay close, and earned a hard-fought two points.

The Red Wings were disappointed with only the one point.

"We did a ton of good things, we had unbelievable scoring chances, and we didn't score," coach Mike Babcock said. "You have to give them credit. But we had the puck most of the night, we had opportunities, but we didn't finish.

"Were we as good as we could have been? I don't think so."

Datsyuk scored in his fourth consecutive game — his fifth goal of the season — breaking a 1-1 tie at 4 minutes, 27 seconds of the third period.

Datsyuk has a point in all six games he's played, 10 points total (5 goals, 5 assists), also assisting on Tomas Tatar's goal Sunday.

"Pav's the Magic Man," Tatar said. "He's playing real well. Everybody has to be aware of him."

The Red Wings (6-2-3, 15 points) saw their two-game win streak end while Buffalo (3-9-1, 7 points) ended a three-game losing streak.

The Red Wings had an opportunity to win it in overtime, but a Zetterberg goal on the power play was waved off by a goalie interference call on Johan Franzen.

"We were in the crease," Babcock said. "Don't be in the crease. It was a disallowed goal."

Datsyuk capitalized on a three-on-two rush on his goal with Buffalo forward Torrey Mitchell caught up ice after taking a stick to the face.

But Buffalo's Chris Stewart tied the game 2-2 on a hardworking goal at 13:08 of the third period.

Stewart maneuvered in front, dove and nudged the puck past goalie Jimmy Howard (19 saves) for his first goal of the season.

Tatar tied the game at 12:55 of the second period.

The sequence began with an outstanding shift by Datsyuk's line, with Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader.

The Red Wings sustained good pressure, had the Sabres reeling, and Tatar capitalized.

Tatar worked his way around Sabres defenders on the perimeter, found an opening near the left circle, and fired a wrist shot that eluded Neuvirth.

"The shift before guys had a lot of pressure and lot of chances and their (Sabres) guys were on the ice and really tired," Tatar said. "I just got the puck, walked around, and found (some space) and the puck went through."

Flynn gave the Sabres a 1-0 lead in the second period, his first goal of the season.

With the Sabres pressing around the net, Flynn was first to the puck in the crease and backhanded a shot past a sprawled Howard at 6:55.

The Red Wings had several bodies around the crease, but none could get to the puck before Flynn.

It sort of typified what turned out to be a frustrating evening for the Red Wings – just not close enough all the way around.

"The first 10 minutes (of the game) there were no shots, no nothing, the fans (were quiet) but that's no excuse," Tatar said. "We have to work around something like that and play our game as hard as we can for 60 minutes."