Brain Rafalski scored 31 seconds into overtime Saturday night, giving the Detroit Red Wings a 3-2 win over the visiting Buffalo Sabres.
It was Rafalski’s first game-winning goal of the season.
With the win, the Red Wings moved into eighth place in the Western Conference standings, one point ahead of the idle Calgary Flames.
The Red Wings were skating four-on-three with Buffalo’s Tyler Myers in the penalty box on a delay-of-game penalty that carried over from the end of regulation. Rafalski drifted to the top of the left faceoff circle and one-timed a pass from Nicklas Lidstrom past Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller on the short side.
Detroit had opened the scoring with a pair of goals early in the first period.
Just 2:02 in, Pavel Datsyuk got the Red Wings on the board. Brad Stuart fired a shot that went wide to Miller’s left and deflected off the back boards, coming to Datsyuk on the other side of the goal. From an extreme angle, Datsyuk put it into the open net.
Patrick Eaves made it a two-goal lead 1:13 later, driving down the left wing and cutting to the net, rolling the puck up Miller’s stick and over him when the goaltender came out to poke-check it away.
Jochen Hecht scored the first of his two goals at 7:02 of the period, backhanding the rebound of a Jason Pominville shot past Detroit netminder Jimmy Howard from in close.
Hecht tied the game at 5:30 of the second period. The rebound of Tim Connolly’s original shot came out to Pominville in the slot. Pominville couldn’t get a shot away as he cut towards the bottom of the left faceoff circle but he teed it up for Hecht who put it past a sprawling Howard.
Howard finished the night with 24 saves on 26 shots. Miller stopped 34 of 37 Detroit chances.
Detroit finished the night 1-for-4 on the power play while Buffalo was scoreless on three tries with the extra attacker.
The Red Wings now head out to Western Canada for a three-game road trip, starting Monday night in Calgary.
Rafalski’s goal gave Detroit a nine-game streak of scoring at least one power play goal.