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game recap

Sabres score three times in second period, defeat Red Wings

Sheary, Mittelstadt, Okposo each has goal, Ullmark makes 28 saves for Buffalo

by Heather Engel / Correspondent

Okposo wires home wrister for PPG

DET@BUF: Okposo scores PPG through screen

Kyle Okposo receives a pass in the circle and snaps a wrister past a screened Jimmy Howard for a power-play goal late in the 2nd period

  • 00:57 •

BUFFALO -- The Buffalo Sabres scored two power-play goals for the second time in three games in a 3-1 win against the Detroit Red Wings at KeyBank Center on Saturday.

The Sabres are 5-for-10 on the power play in four games in February after going 1-for-25 in January. They scored two power-play goals in a 5-4 shootout win against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday.

"The power play is really doing a good job possessing the puck in the zone," Buffalo coach Phil Housley said. "I would like to see them shoot a little bit more. You saw two goals that came by just getting pucks to the net, but they have done a terrific job in the month of February. It's been a whole different story than it was in January. They're contributing. We're going to need them, especially in tight games like this."


[WATCH: All Red Wings vs. Sabres highlights]


Conor Sheary, Casey Mittelstadt and Kyle Okposo scored in the second period, and Linus Ullmark made 28 saves for the Sabres (27-20-7) .

Dylan Larkin scored, and Jimmy Howard made 18 saves for the Red Wings (21-27-7).

"We've got to get back to getting dirty with our offense," Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said. "We've got to get back to getting pucks to the cage with a guy at the cage, finding ways to score those dirty goals. That's been one of the biggest improvements from the beginning of the year to the midway point but now all of a sudden it looks like we want to pass at the net. You can't pass at the net, you have to shoot it."

Video: DET@BUF: Sheary forces turnover, snaps home wrister

Sheary intercepted Justin Abdelkader's pass and used Red Wings defenseman Mike Green as a screen to make it 1-0 from the high slot at 1:15 of the second period.

Mittelstadt extended his point streak to four games with a power-play goal from the right face-off dot at 10:05 to give Buffalo a 2-0 lead. 

"You get a bounce here and there, it kind of gets you going a little bit," Mittelstadt said. "But I never lost confidence or anything like that. It's important to keep working on what you know you need to do to get better, and eventually they start coming."

Detroit cut the lead to 2-1 on the power play when Larkin used his speed on a wraparound to slide the puck into the right side of the net at 17:14. Okposo made it 3-1 on the power play from the top of the right circle with 31 seconds left in the period.

Video: DET@BUF: Mittelstadt nets PPG from the circle

"It's a tough one to give up," Frans Nielsen said. "Coming out (for the third period in) a one-goal game, it's nothing, but two it's a little more difficult. It was a tough one, but at the end of the day we've got to put more pucks in the net."

Andreas Athanasiou came close to pulling the Red Wings back to within one at 11:55 of the third period. Nielsen sprung the speedy wing on a breakaway, but Ullmark closed his pads and held tight as he slid backward in his crease to preserve Buffalo's two-goal lead.

"He's a very fast guy," Ullmark said. "It's all about taking away as much as possible. Put the pedal to the metal. Luckily it bounced off and I kept it outside the net."

Video: DET@BUF: Larkin backhands home wraparound for PPG


They said it

"I don't think there's any question that Dylan is taking huge steps towards being that good all-around centerman that you have to be to be a successful hockey team. I think he's a huge building block for this team because of it." -- Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill on Dylan Larkin


"I thought the guys responded really well. I thought we did a much better job in front of our net, and when they did get to the interior [our] guys tied them up and we were able to box them out to give Linus a good line of sight to the puck. … It was a big improvement from last game." -- Sabres coach Phil Housley


Need to know

Ullmark's .914 save percentage through 50 NHL games is the best by any goalie who played his first 50 games with the Sabres. … Rookie Rasmus Dahlin had an assist and became the fifth defenseman in NHL history with at least 30 points (six goals, 24 assists) before his 19th birthday (53 games). Housley is the leader with 57 points (17 goals, 40 assists); he did it in 66 games. … Athanasiou has six assists in his past five games. … Thomas Vanek has 10 points (four goals, six assists) in his past nine games.


What's next

Red Wings: At the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday (3 p.m. ET; NBCSCH, FS-D, NHL.TV) 

Sabres: Host the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday (3 p.m. ET; ESPN+, MSG-B, TSN3, NHL.TV)  

Video: Sabres ride big 2nd to 3-1 win against Red Wings

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