Red Wings try to end Sabres’ eight-game win streak
The Buffalo Sabres, the hottest team in the NHL, come to Detroit on Saturday to face a team that has also ignited after a horrible start to the season.
The Detroit Red Wings have gone 9-3-0 after leaving the gate a dreadful 1-7-2.
“We needed to make up some ground for the start we had,” Detroit center Dylan Larkin told the team’s website. “We know that. We’ve done a good job the past month.”
Yet as impressive as Detroit’s turnaround has been, it pales in comparison with the Sabres’ run of success.
“I’m excited to see what they got, excited to match up against them,” Detroit forward Justin Abdelkader said. “It’s going to be a great test.”
Friday’s 3-2 overtime win over the Montreal Canadiens was Buffalo’s eighth straight victory. They are closing in on some hallowed ground in franchise history.
In 1976-77 and 1979-80, the Sabres won nine in a row. In 1983-84 and 2006-07, Buffalo put together club-record 10-game winning streaks.
Jeff Skinner scored two goals in Friday’s win, giving him 17 for the season and a tie for the NHL lead. He found the net with 2:26 left in regulation to tie the score and added the winner on the power play at 3:06 of overtime.
“I don’t think I’ve ever won eight straight, so that’s a good thing,” Skinner told WKBW. “You try to produce offensively to help the team win. As long as you’re contributing to wins, I think it’s a good feeling.
“We want to try and keep it going.”
With 10 goals in Buffalo’s first 16 games, Skinner reached the 10-goal mark quicker than any Sabres player since Thomas Vanek (10 games) in 2012-13. Vanek currently plays for the Wings.
Buffalo is 10-0-2 when scoring first this season, but the Sabres have come back to win six times during their eight-game winning streak.
Sabres goalie Carter Hutton has won seven games in a row.
“I think we’re enjoying it for sure, and we don’t want to lose,” Sabres captain Jack Eichel said. “I mean, who wants to lose? You want to go out and try to win every game you play.
“We’ve got another tough test (Saturday) against Detroit, a team that’s playing really well.”
The Wings did the opposite of the Sabres on Friday, squandering a 1-0 lead and falling 3-1 on the road to the defending Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals.
“I think every game we just prove to ourselves that when we play, we’re as good as anybody in the league and we’ve just got to play,” Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said. “I thought we played a good hockey game.
“I’m not disappointed in how we played, I’m disappointed in the result.”
Still seeking to claw their way into a playoff position, the Red Wings are in the midst of a four-game stretch (Boston, Washington, Buffalo, Columbus) against teams ahead of them in the Eastern Conference.
“Buff’s a real good team,” Blashill said. “They’ve got a number of good, high (draft) picks that are starting to come into their own.
“Certainly Eichel’s at an age here where I’ve coached him, I know how talented he is. He’s as talented as anybody in the league. It looks like he’s playing real good. He’s certainly not alone.
“It’ll be a good challenge. But that’s what the league is every night. We’ve got to make sure we come back and play another great game.”
The Red Wings are 9-3-0 in their last 12 games. Only Calgary (six) and Buffalo (five) have more wins than Detroit (four) when trailing after two periods.