The Detroit Red Wings snapped a four-game losing streak Sunday night, defeating the Buffalo Sabres for just their second win in the last twelve games.
The win was a first for goalie Dominik Hasek, who had never won at HSBC Arena as a member of the opposition after spending nine seasons with the Sabres.
The game started ominously for the Red Wings, with the Sabres scoring on their first shot just 2:59 into the game.
After the puck bounced over defenseman Derek Meech’s stick inside the Sabres’ blue line, Buffalo rushed in on a three-on-one. Maxim Afinogenov got the puck to Patrick Kaleta in the slot for a rifled shot past Hasek, putting the Sabres up early.
Dallas Drake tied the game up with 8:04 left in the first. Niklas Kronwall came down low along the left-wing boards and threw a shot to the front of the net. Drake’s tip didn’t make it through but the puck bounced back off a Sabres defenseman and past goalie Ryan Miller.
A Valtteri Filppula power play goal gave the Red Wings the lead at 5:11 of the second. Tape-to-tape passing from Johan Franzen and Jiri Hudler worked the puck from the left wing to the bottom of the right faceoff cicle and back out into the slot for Filppula’s tap-in.
Franzen added a goal of his own with 5:44 left in the period when Kronwall faked a blast from the top of the right circle and drew Miller to him before passing off to Franzen to put the puck in the open side of the net.
Jason Pominville briefly got Buffalo back in the game with an odd power-play goal at 3:12 of the third.
A Kirk Maltby hit along the boards in the neutral zone led to pushing and shoving between the two teams. Detroit’s defenders moved in to take part but the play was never blown dead and the puck came out to Pominville, who broke in alone and put the puck past Hasek.
Kirk Maltby iced the game with 4:08 remaining, putting a one-timer past Miller from the left circle after Pavel Datsyuk won a one-on-two battle for the puck in the corner.
Hasek stopped 22 of 24 shots against his former team while Miller made 35 saves on 39 shots.