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game recap

Sabres defeat Red Wings with power-play goal in OT

Kyle Okposo scores after Buffalo kills his penalty

by Joe Yerdon / Correspondent

BUFFALO -- Kyle Okposo scored a power-play goal with 26 seconds left in overtime to give the Buffalo Sabres a 3-2 win against the Detroit Red Wings at KeyBank Center on Friday.

A Detroit power play created by Okposo's hooking penalty expired 12 seconds before Buffalo's began with Frans Nielsen's hooking penalty.

"The guys did a great job on the kill; they bailed me out," Okposo said. "I'm sitting there in the box just kind of doing everything I can to take my mind off what's going on."

Okposo scored his 14th goal of the season when he put a backhand past goalie Petr Mrazek to give the Sabres their fourth straight win at home.


WATCH: All Red Wings vs. Sabres highlights


"Just a bit of a broken play," Okposo said. "We had a couple things that we wanted to do. They just seemed to be giving me time at the net."

Buffalo (18-18-9) has won two of the past three games. Detroit (20-19-7) had a three-game winning streak end.

Video: DET@BUF: Reinhart kicks puck to stick, nets PPG

Darren Helm gave the Red Wings a 2-1 lead with 6:22 left in the third period with his fifth goal. Helm picked up a rebound of a shot by Justin Abdelkader and put it past goalie Anders Nilsson.

Helm played for the first time since Nov. 15, when he sustained a shoulder injury and missed 28 games. It was his first goal since Oct. 21.

O'Reilly tied it 2-2 with 4:09 left with his ninth goal of the season.

Video: DET@BUF: Nielsen fires slapper past Nilsson for PPG

"It was a big-time play from our guy wanting to be a leader on this team and just willed that goal in," Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said. "Just from the play up along the boards to behind the net to bringing it out, and that's the best I can say. He willed that goal in the back of the net."

Nielsen gave the Red Wings a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal 9:02 into the first period. He received a pass from Mike Green and shot from the slot for his 10th goal of the season.

Video: DET@BUF: Helm finds a loose puck and rips it home

Sam Reinhart made it 1-1 with a power-play goal 5:06 into the second period. Jack Eichel took a shot from the right faceoff circle that was blocked, and the puck deflected off Reinhart past goalie Petr Mrazek for his 10th goal. The original call by the referee closest to the net was no goal, but after the four on-ice officials huddled, the call on the ice was changed to goal.

Goal of the game

Okposo's goal came after a quick pass from Ryan O'Reilly in front.

Video: DET@BUF: Okposo backhands PPG to win game in overtime

Save of the game

With 1:50 left in the first period, Mrazek made a blocker save against Marcus Foligno after a pass from Cody Franson.

Video: DET@BUF: Mrazek sprawls across crease to deny Foligno

Highlight of the game

O'Reilly circled the net and beat Mrazek high with a backhand to tie the game.

Video: DET@BUF: O'Reilly beats Mrazek with nifty backhand

Unsung performance of the game

Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen played the entire 4:34 of overtime and had an NHL career-high 35:24 time on ice.

They said it

"I thought it was good for us we showed good maturity. We were doing some things well, but it was kind of back and forth all night. We stuck with it. We didn't panic. We get scored on there late, you didn't see us get down." -- Sabres center Ryan O'Reilly


"Well we're playing with four right shots and two left shots to start the game with, and then losing a left shot (defenseman Jake McCabe), an even more difficult situation back there with just Justin [Falk] as the lone left shot. It's really a lot of mix and match there throughout the game, and I thought at times we gave our defensemen too much to handle there, in the second period in particular, playing with five guys getting down to that few number and they had to play some tough defense against their skill forwards, and I thought those guys were up to the task, all five of them." -- Sabres coach Dan Bylsma


"Yeah, that [stinks]. I thought we played pretty well in the third, and to go up late and then watch it kind of disappear in the last five minutes of the game, and not be able to come back in overtime, it [stunk]. We've got to do obviously a better job of closing those games out." -- Red Wings forward Darren Helm

Need to know

McCabe left the game in the first period with a shoulder injury. There was no update after the game but he was seen leaving the arena with his right arm a sling. ... It's the first time Sabres won consecutive games against the Red Wings since March 6, 1994 and Nov. 1, 1995. ... It's the first time the Sabres defeated the Red Wings twice in a season since 1989-90.

What's next

Red Wings: Host the New York Rangers on Sunday (12:30 p.m. ET; NBC, NHL.TV)

Sabres: At the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; SN, TVA Sports, MSG-B, NHL.TV)


Video: Okposo nets overtime winner as Sabres beat Red Wings

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