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Trending: Wings lose heartbreaker to Sabres at very end of overtime

Goaltender interference continues to be a perplexing issue

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji /

DETROIT -- The Red Wings and Buffalo Sabres looked like they were headed to a shootout - and then they weren't.

Just before the clock expired in overtime, Buffalo defenseman Marco Scandella scored to give the Sabres a 3-2 victory Thursday night at Little Caesars Arena.

The Wings did earn a point for the 20th time in the last 24 games against the Sabres (17-4-3).

The Wings fell to 24-26-10 overall and 12-13-8 at home while the Sabres improved to 18-32-11 overall and 10-14-7 on the road.

Jonathan Ericsson and Justin Abdelkader scored for Detroit while Rasmus Ristolainen, Evander Kane and Scandella scored for Buffalo.

Andreas Athanasiou skated in his 150th career game.

1. Jimmy Howard/Goaltender interference: The Wings continue to be plagued by the new interpretation of the goaltender interference rule. They lost with 7.7 seconds left in the third period on Feb. 3 in Florida when Jonathan Huberdeau scored despite contact with Petr Mrazek. Against the Sabres, Kane scored a power-play goal at 13:09 of the second on a wraparound with Jason Pominville clearly in the blue paint. The Wings challenged but after a lengthy review, the goal stood and the Sabres had a 2-1 lead. Howard made several big saves, including an odd-man rush in overtime when Ryan O'Reilly had an excellent chance. Howard finished with 27 saves and fell to 9-1-2 against the Sabres in 13 career games.

Quotable: "I thought hockey ops at the NHL level had done an unreal job the first part of the year of making a gray rule as black and white as they could. Basically, if you went in the blue on your own and you made contact with the goaltender and kept him from being able to play his position, it was going to be called back. I could go to my guys and say exactly what it was. And then there was a meeting that I wasn't a part of at the All-Star Game and there was a feeling too many goals were getting called back, so then they want to go back to this term 'egregious.' What's egregious mean? It means something different to me, to you, to you and you, so now we're back to ultra-gray. All I know is Pominville had no reason to go into the crease. He stood literally right in front … right on the goalie. I'm sure those two refs who are very good refs have never played the goaltender position. On a wraparound the first thing you lead with is your stick, so his stick comes in and hits the pad and keeps his stick from being able to go jam him, that's how the puck goes in. So I don't know what goalie interference is now." - Wings coach Jeff Blashill

Quotable II: "I don't know what goaltender interference is anymore. That's a pretty big part of the equipment there, especially on the wraparound. You lead with your stick and hoping to cut that off and that was taken away. Whether or not it was goalie interference, they had a long look at it and they deemed it wasn't." - Howard

2. Jonathan Ericsson: Ericsson will never be confused with Ottawa's Erik Karlsson, one of the premier offensive defensemen in the league, but that doesn't mean he can't score. At 3:42 of the second period, Ericsson collected the puck and moved into the high slot, shooting the puck past Buffalo goaltender Robin Lehner for an unassisted tally. It was Ericsson's third of the season, marking the fifth time in his career he has scored three goals. His career best is four goals scored during the 2009-10 season. Ericsson led the team with five shots.

Quotable: "We know that we can't have anything slip away. That's why this is very frustrating. This is one point, one big point slipping away from us. Obviously, it's not a team that we're chasing, but that's still a point that's slipping away from us. We can't afford that. We gotta get these two points every night." - Ericsson

Quotable II: "They play really structured in front of him (Lehner). I think in the third, even though we had a lot of puck possession in their end, it's hard to get pucks through. But you have to find a way, and maybe it's not from the D all the time. Throw it in from bad angles, and I thought we tried doing that. We just gotta keep at it." - Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg

3. Justin Abdelkader: Abdelkader went to the net and pushed in a rebound of Frans Nielsen's shot with 1:25 left in regulation to tie the game, 2-2. It was Abdelkader's 10th goal of the season. In 23 career games against the Sabres, Abdelkader has three goals and 12 assists. Nielsen picked up his ninth point (2-7-9) in his last 10 games.

Quotable: "It's a 6-on-4 so they're both, the wingers and the D, are kind of trying to tie up in front. The puck just came clean, it's one of those things where it came clean right to Nielsen. I was kind of surprised, too. He's all alone and makes the shot, I'm just trying to be around there for any kind of loose puck or rebound. I was fortunate, it came through him there." - Abdelkader

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