Two points are two points but, man, that was uglier than it needed to be.
Playing against the worst team in the league who also played last night and didn’t even get into Detroit until 4:00 AM, you could expect the Red Wings to take a 3-0 lead early. Unfortunately, given Detroit’s penchant for giving up leads, you could also expect them to let the Sabres back in it, which they did as Buffalo cut it to 3-2 by the midway point of the third period. The Sabres had all the momentum late but couldn’t get a shot on net on their final shift as the Red Wings held on for the win.
Coupled with Columbus’ late loss to Chicago, that gives Detroit a three point lead for the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. They’re up four on ninth-place Toronto with a game in hand. New Jersey is six back, Washington seven, and Carolina is all-but-eliminated at nine back.
Montreal is up tomorrow night, coming off a 7-4 win in Ottawa.
With the win, Red Wings’ head coach Mike Babcock moved into a tie with Jack Adams for first place all-time in wins among Detroit coaches with 413. Babcock reached that mark in 265 fewer games.