Make it 18 losses in last 21 games

Quick goals force over­time

The Buffalo News - - NHL - By Lance Lysowski NEWS SPORTS RE­PORTER

When the Buf­falo Sabres com­pleted their morn­ing skate Thurs­day, Ja­son Pom­inville spoke pas­sion­ately about the city’s fans. They have filled KeyBank Cen­ter for eight con­sec­u­tive non-play­off sea­sons and en­dured the Sabres’ his­toric col­lapse over the past four months.

No mat­ter what un­folded over the sea­son’s fi­nal six games, Pom­inville hoped he and his team­mates could re­pay the fan base for all they en­dured. That al­most be­came a re­al­ity Thurs­day night when the Sabres twice ral­lied from twogoal deficits to take the game into over­time, only to lose, 5-4, on Tyler Ber­tuzzi’s goal with 2:42 re­main­ing.

The Sabres (31-36-10) have gone 3-15-3 over their last 21 games, in­clud­ing 2-10-2 in March, and are only four points ahead of the Red Wings (29-3810) in the Eastern Con­fer­ence stand­ings. Buf­falo has the league’s fewest points (36) since it sat atop the NHL stand­ings Nov. 28.

Dy­lan Larkin scored the go-ahead goal with 13:16 re­main­ing in the third pe­riod and added an­other less than seven min­utes later to be­come the first Red Wings player since 2008-09 to have 30 goals in a sea­son. Detroit also re­ceived a goal from Filip Hronek to take a 2-0 lead.

Kyle Ok­poso, Marco Scan­della, Casey Mit­tel­stadt and Jack Eichel scored, the lat­ter two com­ing 41 sec­onds apart in the third pe­riod. Li­nus Ull­mark made 29 saves.

Shorthanded prob­lem: The Sabres were out-shoot­ing the Red Wings, 11-1, be­fore Jo­han Lars­son was pe­nal­ized for slash­ing with 12:59 re­main­ing in the first pe­riod. They pro­ceeded to take two more penal­ties over the fi­nal 10 min­utes, and Detroit cap­i­tal­ized at 12:01 when Tyler Ber­tuzzi redi­rected An­thony Man­tha’s pass into the back of the net.

The Red Wings out-shot the Sabres, 16-4, from the time Lars­son was pe­nal­ized to the first in­ter­mis­sion. Buf­falo has al­lowed at least one-power play goal in each of its last four games. That spoiled an oth­er­wise strong pe­riod by Ull­mark, who stopped Luke Glen­den­ing’s break­away with a glove save.

Fa­mil­iar sight: The Red Wings took a 2-0 lead only one minute into the sec­ond pe­riod, when An­thony Man­tha passed to Hronek, who one-timed a shot into the open net. The Sabres en­tered Thurs­day with a neg­a­tive-28 goal dif­fer­en­tial in the sec­ond pe­riod this sea­son.

Drought ends: The Sabres’ power-play drought ended at 6:12 into the sec­ond pe­riod, when Ok­poso scored with a wrist shot from the right cir­cle to cut their deficit to one goal. Ok­poso had only one goal over his pre­vi­ous 18 games and has 12 this sea­son.

Fine fin­ish: Scan­della tied the score, 2-2, when he col­lected a pass from Zem­gus Gir­gen­sons and beat Jimmy Howard with a low shot at 17:16 into the sec­ond pe­riod. The Sabres out­shot the Red Wings, 11-5, dur­ing the sec­ond pe­riod and held a 10-2 ad­van­tage when Scan­della scored.

500: Olof­s­son, a 23-year-old for­mer sev­enth-round draft pick, be­came the 500th player to ever ap­pear in a game for the Sabres. He had team-high four shots on goal in the first pe­riod, in­clud­ing one from the slot 30 sec­onds into the game.

Matchup: This was the third of four meet­ings be­tween the two teams this sea­son, and the Sabres won the pre­vi­ous game, 3-1, on Feb 9. They also de­feated the Red Wings, 3-2, in a shootout in the ninth game of the 10-game win­ning streak.

Lineup: De­fense­men Zach Bo­gosian (lower body), Matt Hun­wick (up­per body), Jake McCabe (up­per body) and Ras­mus Ris­to­lainen (ill­ness) were un­avail­able. De­fense­man Matt Ten­nyson, who was re­called from Rochester fol­low­ing the morn­ing skate, did not dress for warmups and joined Scott Wil­son as a healthy scratch. For­ward Evan Ro­drigues (up­per body) is day to day with an up­per-body in­jury.

Next: The Sabres are sched­uled to prac­tice Fri­day in prepa­ra­tion for Satur­day’s road game against the New York Is­landers.

James P. McCoy/Buf­falo News

Sabres cen­ter Jack Eichel scores the ty­ing goal against the Red Wings in the third pe­riod. It was his 100th ca­reer goal.

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