DETROIT – If you have red wings in Buffalo, chances are they’re undercooked and you should send them back.
But in Detroit, if the ice were an oven, it’s safe to say that the Red Wings have been in it long enough. They’ve played in overtime an astounding 10 times during their current 13-game point streak (8-0-5), a stretch that dates back to a 4-3 win in Ottawa on Nov. 16. The run includes a 5-4 shootout win over the Sabres on Dec. 1.
Buffalo will look to end Detroit’s streak on Monday night at Joe Louis Arena.
“For me, that says that when you get a lead, you’ve got to get the next one,” Sabres forward Evander Kane said. “You’ve got a two-goal lead; you’ve got to get three. You’ve got three; you’ve got to get four. You have to step on the throat a little bit and make sure they are out of the game if you’re in that position.”
Last time the Sabres and Red Wings met, Buffalo was unable nail the door closed after jumping out to a 4-3 lead in the third period. Detroit scored with 6:29 remaining to tie the game at 4-4, Buffalo was unable to convert on a 4-on-3 power play in overtime, and the Red Wings scored the only goal in the shootout.
A slow start certainly didn’t do the Sabres any favor in that game. They trailed 3-1 with three minutes to play in the second period, but a Zemgus Girgensons goal snowballed into goals for Kane (his second of the night) and Zach Bogosian to propel the Sabres to a lead early in the third.
The problem early, Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said, was that they allowed the Red Wings play to their strengths by opening up the ice and letting them use their speed. Kane had a similar assessment.
“They feed off the rush,” the forward said. “They feed off of turnovers, especially in the neutral zone. We’re going to have to eliminate that, try to play as much time as we can in their zone working down low and we seem to have some success against them playing in their end.”
Luckily for Buffalo, they don’t have to search far for an example of how to play their best game. The Sabres dominated for the majority of a 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night at First Niagara Center, a template they’ll look to follow for their second-straight win.
Against the Kings, Buffalo forechecked hard, kept the game in their offensive zone and, perhaps most importantly, did it from the very beginning. The Sabres outshot L.A. 12-3 in the first period.
They’ll look to bring that same energy right out of the gate on Monday.
“Obviously we want to have a better start in this building than we did last time, getting down 2-0,” Kane said. “They’re a team that’s ahead of us in the standings, they’re a team that’s finding ways to win and they’re a team I feel like we kind of let one slip away [against] last time.”
Bylsma said that Buffalo will employ the same lineup from the win over L.A., with the exception of Chad Johnson starting in net. Linus Ullmark allowed four goals on 46 shots in Buffalo’s first meeting with the Red Wings.
Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Tops Sabres Gamenight on MSG-B and Bell TV. The game can also be heard live on WGR 550 with puck drop set for 7:30 p.m.
88 Jamie McGinn – 90 Ryan O'Reilly – 23 Sam Reinhart
9 Evander Kane – 15 Jack Eichel – 26 Matt Moulson
28 Zemgus Girgensons – 22 Johan Larsson – 12 Brian Gionta
44 Nicolas Deslauriers – 17 David Legwand – 82 Marcus Foligno
4 Josh Gorges – 55 Rasmus Ristolainen
29 Jake McCabe – 47 Zach Bogosian
6 Mike Weber – 46 Cody Franson
31 Chad Johnson
35 Linus Ullmark