DETROIT -- The Detroit Red Wings ended their season with a resounding thud.
The Wings had excelled the last two weeks, going 8-2-0 despite suffering more injuries, but could not prevent the Buffalo Sabres from filling the net in a 7-1 loss.
The loss means the Wings finish the season with a 32-40-10 record and 74 points while the Sabres end their season at 33-39-10 and 76 points.
Detroit will have the fourth-worst record, ahead of New Jersey, Los Angeles and Ottawa.
Anthony Mantha (power play) scored for the Wings.
Sam Reinhart, Rasmus Dahlin (power play), Conor Sheary, Jeff Skinner (two), Zemgus Girgensons and Brandon Montour (power play) scored for the Sabres.
Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard made 21 saves before rookie Kaden Fulcher came in to relieve him. Howard finishes the season with a 23-22-5 record.
Buffalo netminder Linus Ullmark had 23 saves. His season record is 15-14-5.
Up next for both the Wings and Sabres is looking ahead to the draft lottery on Tuesday night and then to the 2019 NHL Entry Draft June 21-22 in Vancouver.
1. Anthony Mantha: If not for the 15 games Mantha missed with a hand injury, he would likely have joined Dylan Larkin and Andreas Athanasiou in the 30-goal club. As it was, Mantha finished the season strong. With the Wings on the power play, Mantha shot the puck from the right circle, beating Ullmark glove-side at 15:11 of the first period. Athanasiou and Filip Hronek picked up the assists. It marked Mantha's 25th goal of the season, one more than the 24 he had to lead the team last season. He had eight goals and seven assists in his last eight games. Mantha finished the game with 21 shifts for 21:08, was tied with Larkin and Hronek for the team lead with four shots and was minus-1.
Quotable: "I think I am. But obviously it's looking at it from the big picture. Our team's almost dead last in the league and we're not even close to playoffs so that's the big picture that really sucks right now. Personally, I think I took strides. I think a lot of guys in here took strides and hopefully we can bring it on a different level next year." -- Mantha
Quotable II: "I was asked if he was going to reach 20 a month or two ago. I said absolutely. He's an explosive goal scorer and that's what he does. He's got a great shot, a great hockey sense around the net. You saw the goal tonight. It was on his stick and then right off his stick. It's great to see him in the past couple of weeks take another step and become an elite player, an elite goal scorer. We're gonna need him next year to keep doing that." -- Larkin
2. Filip Hronek: On a night when the Sabres had the jump and the Red Wings were stuck in neutral, Hronek extended his point streak to four games (1-4-5), picking up an assist on Mantha's goal. He also has tallied seven points (1-6-7) in his last six games. Hronek becomes the Wings' first rookie defenseman to have a four-game point streak since the 1991-92 season, when both Vladimir Konstantinov (four games from Feb. 12-20, 1992) and Nicklas Lidstrom (five games from Jan. 31-Feb. 7, 1992) both accomplished the feat. Since being recalled from Grand Rapids in mid-February, Hronek has acquitted himself well in a Red Wings uniform. There certainly has been some bumps along the way for the 21-year-old defenseman, but the Wings have been pleased with the progress Hronek has made during his rookie campaign. Though he was a minus-2 against Buffalo, he did notch an assist, logged 20:56 of ice time, had four shots on goal and blocked four shots. In 46 games as a Red Wing, he scored five goals, doled out 18 assists for 23 points. He was a minus-10, was assed 30 penalty minutes, registered 65 hits and 28 blocked shots, with an ice time average of 20:06 per game.
Quotable: "Prior to this game, I think we were 8-2. I just think our guys ran out of gas. It felt that it was coming that way a little bit against Pittsburgh and then we just ran out of gas. I applaud the group that came up. We had a number of guys that have been regulars with Grand Rapids, and I think they did a heck of job and I just think they ran out of gas." -- Wings coach Jeff Blashill
Quotable II: "Obviously we had a lot of injuries, a lot of guys had their chances, a lot of them took the next step again. Hopefully it gives them a lot of confidence for their playoffs in GR (Grand Rapids) and hopefully they have a great run and they can go win a championship." -- Mantha
3. Kaden Fulcher: When the Wings lost Jonathan Bernier to an upper-body injury, the logical thing would have been to call up a goaltender from the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins. But the injury coincided with the Griffins losing Harri Sateri to an injury, meaning Patrik Rybar was the only one left in net. So Fulcher, who was playing for the ECHL's Toledo Walleye, ended up getting the call-up to Detroit under emergency conditions. After Howard allowed five goals on 26 shots, out came Fulcher to the Detroit net. Fulcher, 20, was originally signed as an undrafted free agent on Oct. 3, 2017, after an impressive development camp and prospect tournament. With the Walleye, Fulcher us 15-7-6 with a 3.00 goals-against average and .899 save percentage. He has served as a backup in Grand Rapids but ironically played in the NHL before he did in the AHL. At 3:01 of the second, Fulcher stopped Casey Mittelstadt's wrist shot and then got some help from defenseman Jake Chelios, who cleared the rebound out. In the third period, Fulcher stopped Skinner but Skinner quickly collected the rebound and snapped it past Fulcher at 10:27 for his second goal of the game and 40th of the season. Fulcher finished with nine saves on 11 shots. The 20-year-old netminder is the 38th player to play for the Wings this season, the most players used in a single season since the franchise record of 45 in 1990-91.
Quotable: "I didn't really expect that, definitely coming into that game, but I think it's nice to get the first one out of the way for sure. The guys did a tremendous job helping me out back there clearing some loose garbage in the crease there in the third it was probably as easy as it could be thanks to those guys. The way this team is in the locker room and how far I have to go to get here. It's definitely a little daunting. I think as long as you put the work in year-after-year these guys are going to help you out every chance you can get. These guys like Jimmy (Howard), I skated with (Johnathan) Bernier once this week, just getting some pointers from them and a lot of encouragement from them it was great." -- Fulcher
Quotable II: "I thought in the second it got away from us. Jimmy tweaked his groin in the first and obviously Kaden hadn't played and hadn't played in the American League, so we were trying to protect him a little bit and try to keep Jimmy in there and see if we could hang in there. I thought Jimmy gutted it out big-time. It was disappointing for him because he got hung out to dry, so I was real disappointed for him just from a statistical standpoint, but he was fine. He was trying to hang in there and we couldn't get it going." -- Blashill
Quotable III: "It's good for him. He was pretty excited about it. I talked to him quick after the game. He was just saying everything's just so, so much quicker. As soon as the guys got the puck, it was off their sticks. It's a good experience for him again and now he's going to go back in Toledo and probably have great confidence." -- Mantha