Dylan Larkin talks about the Red Wings' defeat in Buffalo The Detroit News
Buffalo — Maybe the dads will give them a good talking to.
It would certainly be in order for the Red Wings, who have their dads on this trip and made the elders sit through an uninspiring, 3-1 loss to Buffalo Saturday afternoon.
“Just not enough oomph in our finishes,” said defenseman Niklas Kronwall, speaking primarily about the final 40 minutes. “Especially in the third period, we spent at least the first 10 or 12 minutes, way too much time in our defensive zone. We have to be better there.”
Just as the other night against Vegas, a poor second period hurt the Wings.
Dylan Larkin (power play) had the Wings goal, cutting the Sabres lead to 2-1 after Conor Sheary and Casey Mittelstadt (power play) had scored for Buffalo in the first half of the period.
Then, Buffalo’s Kyle Okposo whistled a shot past goaltender Jimmy Howard on the power play at 19:19, restoring a two-goal lead for Buffalo, 3-1, before the end of the second period.
“That was tough, we never seemed to come back from that,” Larkin said of the Okposo goal. “Maybe we can learn from how they played, they threw a dagger at us with that third goal.”
The Wings (21-27-7) have lost two straight after winning three in a row, and now travel to red-hot Chicago for a game at 3 p.m. Sunday (Fox Sports Detroit).
Jeff Blashill on the need for the Red Wings to score dirty goals. The Detroit News
“We have to get back to being dirty with our offense,” said coach Jeff Blashill, alluding to the gritty goals the Wings are lacking these days. “We have to get back to getting pucks to the cage with a guy on the cage, and finding a way to score those dirty goals.
“We passed up opportunities to shoot the puck at the goalie.”
Larkin’s 23rd goal, matching his career-high from his rookie season, gave the Wings a brief spark.
Larkin took a pass from Thomas Vanek, wheeled around the Sabres net, and tucked the wraparound goal past goalie Linus Ullmark, cutting the Buffalo lead to 2-1.
“There’s a determination about him (Larkin) that’s very rare,” Kronwall said. “He just goes. It’s almost like those Duracell battery bunnies that you wind up before every game. He just goes. But that’s in practice, also. It’s extremely impressive.”
But a Michael Rasmussen holding penalty at 19:08 proved to be costly, putting Buffalo on its third power play of the period.
And for the second time the Sabres converted, with Okposo whistling a shot from the dot, making it 3-1 — basically, the same spot Mittelstadt was for his goal (Mittelstadt’s eighth goal) to make it 2-0 at 10:05.
The Okopso goal, making it 3-1, was too much to overcome.
“They’ve given up a lot of goals, find a way to come out and be on the toes the whole period,” said Blashill, not satisfied with the lack of third-period drive. “Instead we played too much defensive zone coverage.”
Sheary, the former Pittsburgh Penguin, opened the scoring for Buffalo 1:15 into the second period.
Sheary cut through the middle of the ice and snapped a shot that Howard might have been screened on, Sheary’s ninth goal.
“We all need to play with more edge,” Howard said. “We did have opportunities, we had a great start, but again we came up short.”