Monday night, the Buffalo Sabres made their final visit to Joe Louis Arena. Going into the game, the Sabres needed nine points in ten games, so a win was of the utmost importance to them. The Red Wings, barely clinging on themselves, were without Darren Helm who would miss time due to a knee injury. Did Dylan Larkin triumph over his old Team U.S.A. buddy Jack Eichel? Did Riley Sheahan break is goal slump? Let’s find out.
The game got off to a slow start with only three shots being taken in the first five minutes. Nearly seven minutes into the game, Eichel took the first penalty as he high sticked Larkin deep in the Red Wings end. The Wings, now with only the 3rd worst powerplay in the league, were unable to convert. When Eichel came back onto the ice, he was hooked by Mike Green who would sit for two minutes. Eichel would make him pay as he scored on the powerplay.
— NHL (@NHL) March 21, 2017
The Red Wings had a terrible first period, only getting five shots to the Sabres 13.
The second period didn’t get off to a good start either as the Sabres really took it to Detroit. Luckily, Mrazek is back from his early season slump and managed to keep his team in it. A little more than halfway through the period, the Red Wings took another penalty as Tomas Tatar tripped up Ryan O’Reilly. The Sabres managed to score again, with Matt Moulson ripping one past Mrazek. The Sabres were now two for two on the PP.
The Red Wings, seemingly having had enough of the one-way game, started to push back against the Sabres after Moulson’s goal. Abdelkader drew a penalty on Jake McCabe, but the Wings still weren’t able to convert. Finally, almost thirteen minutes into the period, Mike Green rushed the puck deep into the Sabres zone and centered it perfectly onto the stick of Tomas Tatar, who had no issue burying the puck into the empty net. The second would come to a close with the 2-1 Buffalo lead and the Red Wings trailing in shots 17-21.
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) March 21, 2017
The Wings carried this momentum into the start of the third period where they rattled shots off Robin Lehner, but had no luck burying any of them. Three minutes into the period, the Sabres took their third penalty of the game as Josh Gorges went off for hooking, but the Wings were unable to convert once again. They would close the game out with the edge in shots (35-30), but not the edge in goals as the final score came in at 2-1.
The Wings got off to a slow start tonight, but woke up halfway through the second period. They had a pretty dominant third, but weren’t able to solve Robyn Lehner. Still, a good third period isn’t enough in today’s NHL. They need to play a full sixty minutes. If they want to win games, that black line needs to be above the blue line all the way across this chart.
Motor City MVP
Tonight’s Motor City MVP is Tomas Tatar for scoring the team’s only goal. It was Tatar’s 21st goal of the season and his tenth point in his last ten games. He’s gone on a bit of a tear here lately and his hot streak extends.
Honourable mention to Tomas Nosek who played 10 minutes and recorded six shots on goal. The Griffins call-up had a great game, too.
The Wings are back in action tomorrow night as they visit the Bell Centre to take on the Division-leading Montreal Canadiens. Puck drop is 7:30PM EST and you can catch the game on FS-D or SNE/RDS if you’re in Canada. As always, Brock Seguin will have your pre-game report tomorrow morning right here at Wings Nation.