Sabres go for 3rd in row vs. Red Wings
BUFFALO, N.Y. — The offensively challenged Buffalo Sabres finally found their scoring touch on Monday night. They'll look to do so again against the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday in order to pick up their second three-game win streak of the season.
The rare offensive burst from the lowest-scoring team in the NHL came thanks to a lack of discipline by the Calgary Flames on Monday. The Sabres scored three power-play goals in a span of 1:41 in the second period on their way to a 4-2 victory. The Sabres had not scored more than two goals in any of their previous 10 games.
“I could tell we were just champing at the bit for the floodgates to open, and that second period was huge for us,” said Sabres defenseman Tyler Fedun, who had two assists. “Everybody was able to take a bit of a deep breath when we started to score some goals.”
Kyle Okposo, Johan Larsson, Matt Moulson and Marcus Foligno all scored for Buffalo in the victory.
“It's a lot of goals in a short amount of time for our team,” Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma said. “It was a couple of great plays on all three of the power-play goals to get us goals and much-needed goals.”
The Sabres (7-8-4) could get some additional help on offense as well in time for the game against the Red Wings. Center Ryan O'Reilly participated in an optional skate on Tuesday and is getting closer to returning to action. The Sabres expected O'Reilly to return sometime this week.
“We tested him a couple different ways with some faceoffs and battle drills there,” Bylsma said, according to the Sabres' team website. “I thought he shot the puck particularly well, if that's any indication. I thought he looked pretty good out there.”
Goaltending has been strong in recent games for the Sabres. Robin Lehner has a save percentage of .920 on the season and backup Anders Nilsson has been a pleasant surprise. In five games, Nilsson has a save percentage of .951. He made 46 saves in a 2-1 shootout win over Pittsburgh on Saturday.
Buffalo will have a good chance to keep its win streak alive against the struggling Red Wings (8-10-1). The Red Wings have lost four in a row and nine of their past 11 games after starting the year with a solid 6-2 start.
“Guys are sick of the way things are going,” center Dylan Larkin said Tuesday, according to the Detroit Free Press. “If you want to make a change, it starts with looking in the mirror and seeing what you have to do to help the team.
“We've got to realize where we put ourselves. The good thing is it is still early, but we have to stop the bleeding. The other good thing is we know we can put a streak together, we have done it before this year. But we have got to realize we have to start playing here soon, or it is going to be too late.”
Each of Detroit's last three losses have come by one goal. Like the Sabres, Detroit's biggest problem is scoring. Through 19 games, the Red Wings were 24th in the league in scoring (2.32 goals per game).