The Detroit Red Wings put on a scare late, but hold out for the big 2 points, taking the game 3-2 over the Buffalo Sabres.
The first period could not have gone better for Detroit. They’d get on the board early at 5:47, when Danny DeKeyser let a slapshot off the boards behind netminder Matt Hackett. It rebounded forward off of Luke Glendening in front of the net, and bounced to a waiting Darren Helm at the side of the net, and smacked home the loose puck in the open net for the 1-0 lead. They’d do it again at 14:12 on a power play, when DeKeyser let another shot off from the point that was redirected in flight by Tomas Jurco and around Hackett for the 2-0 lead. Just 1:16 later, at 15:28, they’d put another up, when Jakub Kindl let a shot off from the point, which was saved by Hackett. The rebound would come out right to Daniel Alfredsson, who easily batted it around Hackett for the 3-0 lead leaving the first period. Shots were 12-7 in favor of Detroit.
The second period was where things slowly started to shift away from the Wings. Buffalo would finally get a tally up at 12:28, on a power play from a bad penalty by Brendan Smith. Jamie McBain would take a cross-ice pass into the faceoff circle, and let off a quick wrist shot to the short-side of Jimmy Howard, and just inside the post and his arm to make it 3-1 Wings. Shots through two periods were 21-14 in favor of the Red Wings.
It would all come down to the wire in the third period, as Detroit allowed momentum to fully swing in the Sabres’ favor. Buffalo would bring themselves to within one goal at 6:40, just off of a Red Wing defensive zone faceoff loss. Nicolas Deslauriers would scoop up a small pass and fling it past Howard to cut the lead to 3-2 Detroit. The Red Wings would withstand a late push by Buffalo, and a 6-on-5 for the last minute of regulation, to pull off the 3-2 victory, and cement their hold on the first Wild Card spot.
With Columbus and Washington both losing in regulation, this puts Detroit in a very, very good spot. Even if they only win 2 of their remaining 5 games now, they still stand a good chance at holding onto a playoff position. There will be little time for rest, as they’ll ship out to Montreal to face the Canadiens tomorrow night. See you then, Nation!