Raymond gets winner in OT as Red Wings defeat Sabres with solid performance
Detroit — Up, down, back up again for the Red Wings.
They've been streaky these last several weeks, but right now the Wings are on the upswing, with Saturday's 3-2 overtime victory over Buffalo the latest win.
And this one was dramatic, with Lucas Raymond scoring the winner, his ninth goal, just 26 seconds into overtime while skating up ice and snapping a shot past Buffalo goaltender Dustin Tokarski.
"Confidence and skill," linemate Dylan Larkin said of the rookie Raymond. "He goes one-on-three and he got a shot and he took it and it went in. Our line was all over it tonight and we didn't get one, then he got one when it counted. It was great to see."
Buffalo's Jeff Skinner scored at 18:23 of the third period with Tokarski pulled, Skinner's sixth goal, tipping Cody Eakin's shot from the wing to tie the score at 2.
But the Wings rebounded, showing the resiliency that's been a bit of a calling card for them this season.
"We got back to work and got on the attack and we challenged them," Larkin said of the Wings' mindset after Buffalo tied the score. "In overtime we won the faceoff and I felt a calmness. Razor (Raymond) skated up the ice and shot it and the game was over."
Carter Rowney and Pius Suter scored goals 1 minute, 19 seconds apart to give the Wings a 2-1 second-period lead.
BOX SCORE: Red Wings 3, Sabres 2, OT
Goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic stopped 26 shots while making his third consecutive start.
The Wings outshot Buffalo 41-28, controlled the game most of the evening, and coach Jeff Blashill felt the Wings were rewarded.
"We deserved to win, it was a game we could have been up by a couple of goals as the game went along," Blashill said. "We could have been up 3-1 or 4-1, we had the opportunities, and we didn't give up a whole bunch defensively, which is a good thing for us.
"It was good to find a way to get the two points because it was a game we deserved to win."
It was the Wings' second straight victory, after they went winless in four games, after winning four of five.
"I liked how we stuck with it, stuck with it the whole game, and things happen in a 60-minute hockey game and we responded well every time," Larkin said. "It's been a focus, we have to win games in our division, those games are huge. It's going to be tight all year."
Buffalo's Dylan Cozens gave the Sabres a 1-0 lead in the second period with his fifth goal.
Brett Murray slapped a pass to Cozens near the net front, and Cozens redirected the puck past Nedeljkovic at 5:05.
But the Wings quickly regained control.
Rowney earned his second goal at 9:56, during a scramble in front of Tokarski. The goal was originally credited to Filip Zadina, but Rowney got his stick on the puck last, with Tokarski prone on the ice.
The Wings quickly struck again to take the lead.
Tokarski made the stop on Moritz Seider's shot from the point but let the puck dangle into the slot, where Suter backhanded the rebound for his fifth goal, at 11:15.
"It was huge, guys that needed goals and that's what you got to do, go to the net and we were there all night," Larkin said. "We had looks. We were around it, Tokarski played well, and he made a lot of big saves in tight.
"We were able to get one when it counted the most at the end."
And it can't be overlooked what a pleasing day for Larkin Saturday was all around.
Wearing a Michigan cap to the Zoom call with the media after the Wings' victory, Larkin was all smiles having watched his Wolverines defeat Ohio State earlier in the day.
"I had to shut it down (to take his pregame nap), I watched it up until early in the third quarter and I woke up with two minutes left," Larkin said. "That was the quickest I woke up from a nap and put the TV on.
"I was pumped. That was cool. It was hard to sleep today, I'll tell you that."