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game recap

Sabres score seven in win against Red Wings

Skinner gets 40th goal, Dahlin has two points for Buffalo

by Dave Hogg / Correspondent

Skinner nets 40th goal

BUF@DET: Skinner nets wrister to hit 40-goal mark

Jeff Skinner finds twine on a shot from the face-off circle, earning his second of the game to reach 40 goals for the first time in his career

  • 01:04 •

DETROIT -- Jeff Skinner scored twice, including his 40th goal of the season, to help the Buffalo Sabres defeat the Detroit Red Wings 7-1 at Little Caesars Arena on Saturday.

"I guess it is a nice round number, but scoring 40 is as much about my teammates and my linemates as it is about me," he said. "I hope they get as much credit for this as I do."

Skinner, who can become an unrestricted free agent July 1, became the first Sabres player to reach 40 goals since current Red Wings forward Thomas Vanek scored 40 in 2008-09. He scored 40 for the first time in nine NHL seasons.


[WATCH: All Sabres vs. Red Wings highlights]


"It was great to see Jeff get 40, and I was so happy to be the one that passed him the puck," Buffalo defenseman Rasmus Dahlin said. "He's going to make some heavy money."

Dahlin had a goal and an assist for Buffalo (33-39-10), which finished the season with its first back-to-back wins since Dec. 11-13. 

"That's a great way to finish the season," coach Phil Housley said of the Sabres, who defeated the Ottawa Senators 5-2 at home Thursday. "We had some discussions about the right way to play and we were able to do that in these final two games."

Jack Eichel and Rasmus Ristolainen each had two assists, and Linus Ullmark made 23 saves.

Video: BUF@DET: Eichel sets up Reinhart off turnover

Anthony Mantha scored for Detroit (32-40-10), which lost its final two games after a season-high, six-game winning streak.

"I think we just ran out of gas," Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "We've had a lot of injuries and we've got a lot of young kids playing here right now. You could see it was coming when we lost to Pittsburgh (4-1 on the road Thursday), and it really hit us tonight."

The Sabres and Red Wings each did not qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Jimmy Howard, who strained a groin muscle in the first period, allowed five goals on 26 shots before leaving the game in the second period. He was replaced by Kaden Fulcher, who made nine saves in his first NHL game.

"Jimmy gave it everything he could, and our guys really hung him out to try," Blashill said. "He was trying to protect Fulcher, who hasn't even played a game in the American Hockey League yet, but he couldn't keep going."

Sam Reinhart gave Buffalo a 1-0 lead at 3:22 of the first period off a pass from Eichel.

"We expected them to come out really flying for their last home game, so we focused on trying to get a quick start," Reinhart said. "That quick goal was just what we needed."

Dahlin made it 2-0 with a power-play goal at 11:51 with a wrist shot from the right face-off circle.

Mantha scored on the power play, his sixth goal in four games, to pull Detroit within 2-1 at 15:11.

"This isn't the game we wanted to finish with, especially at home," Mantha said. "The encouraging thing is how well all these kids played in that winning streak. Now they can go back to Grand Rapids (of the AHL) and have a long playoff run." 

Conor Sheary made it 3-1 at 8:37 of the second period, tipping in Casey Nelson's point shot for his 14th goal.

Video: BUF@DET: Sheary tips home Nelson's point shot

Skinner scored his 39th at 11:29 to give the Sabres a 4-1 lead, and Zemgus Girgensons made it 5-1 at 12:47.

Skinner scored his 40th with a shot that trickled through Fulcher's legs at 10:27 of the third period, and Brandon Montour made it 7-1 at 11:39 with a power-play goal.

"Once Skinner got to 39, I was trying to find every possible time to get him onto the ice," Housley said. "That was a nice moment for him."


They said it

"This was just an awesome season for me. Obviously, I wish we had won more games, but I think we have a lot of talent and it is going to keep getting better. Everyone here was great to me and made this season a lot of fun. I can't wait for next season." -- Sabres rookie defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, who finished with 44 points (nine goals, 35 assists)

"Winning at this level requires having your best players dragging you to a lot of victories. We've got four young guys up front now that need to be doing that more and more next season. That's going to be huge for us." -- Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill on forwards Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha, Tyler Bertuzzi and Andreas Athanasiou  


Need to know

Reinhart, Skinner and Dahlin each played all 82 games for Buffalo. Defenseman Niklas Kronwall, Detroit's oldest player at 38, led the Red Wings with 79. … Larkin became the first player to lead Red Wings in goals (32), assists (41) and penalty minutes (75) since Johnny Sheppard did it for the Detroit Cougars in 1926-27, the franchise's first NHL season.


What's next

Sabres: Season over

Red Wings: Season over

Video: Skinner reaches 40 goals as Sabres rout Red Wings

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