The Wings’ win over the Sabres tonight wasn’t quite what it seemed. Based on the first period and the final score, you’d think Detroit dominated the game. In reality, Detroit controlled the first period and then – until the last five minutes or so – both teams pretty much just coasted.
Buffalo had fewer shots in the first period than either the second or third and the first was the only period in which the Red Wings outshot them. The Wings took as many shots in the first (18) as they did in the rest of the game combined.
What you end up with is a period that defined the scoreboard but not the game.
I’m not sure if Detroit got lazy after taking the 3-0 lead or Buffalo started playing better; probably a combination of the two. The latter you have to expect but the former is disappointing. The now-seven-game win streak the Wings are on has gotten them back to the top of the conference. It’s going to end someday but I’d hate to see that loss come because the Wings got sloppy.
Jimmy Howard is a fantastic goalie but the team can’t continue to ride him like they have at times during the streak.
Also good: Chris Conner looked solid in his first game as a Red Wing. I have to think he’s officially ahead of Fabian Brunnstrom on the depth chart right now, but things are going to get interesting once Jan Mursak returns from injury.