Detroit Red Wings blank Buffalo Sabres

By Mark Ludwiczak, The Sports Xchange

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- After checking to make sure his teeth were in place, rookie standout Dylan Larkin delivered yet again on the ice for the Detroit Red Wings.

Minutes after taking a stick to the face, Larkin scored with 7:59 remaining to lead the the Red Wings to a 3-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Friday night.


"It kind of woke me up a little bit," Larkin said. "It ticked me off a little bit, so I was playing with some edge."

Larkin was struck by an errant stick from Sabres left winger Marcus Foligno with 7:19 remaining in the third. Buffalo killed the ensuing four-minute power play before Larkin returned the favor with the winner.

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The goal came after a shot by center Luke Glendening missed the net to the right. Larkin quickly fired a shot from a hard angle that went through Sabres goalie Robin Lehner's legs for his team-best 15th goal of the season.


"(Larkin's) got that competitive spirit, for sure," Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said. "Not that he wasn't good earlier, but I did think his best was the last half of the third period there. He's certainly got the ability in games to turn it on to bring it up to another level."

Glendening and left winger Henrik Zetterberg scored for the Red Wings (24-15-8), who stopped a two-game skid. Goalie Petr Mrazek made 19 saves for his third shutout of the season and the eighth of his career.

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The Sabres (19-25-4) challenged Larkin's goal, but replay review confirmed that the Red Wings were onside despite a close call at the blue line.

The Red Wings dominated the flow of play throughout the game after establishing control in the second period. Detroit outshot the Sabres 45-19 overall.

"We pretty much handed them the puck tonight with our execution and gave them opportunities to play in the offensive zone," Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said. "That is all on us. It's not anything due to travel or anyone who may be in our out of the lineup."

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The only standout for the Sabres was Lehner. In his third game since returning from a lengthy absence because of a high ankle sprain, Lehner made 42 saves.


"He was outstanding," Bylsma said. "He was pretty strong the whole night."

One of Lehner's best moments came five minutes into the second period after a long shot by Red Wings defenseman Brendan Smith ricocheted off the left post. Lehner dropped to the ice to cover the loose puck with several Red Wings ready to pounce.

"It felt good again," Lehner said. "I try to keep building and it sucks losing. I don't like losing and it's a fine line in this league. You can stay in games, but to win them you've got to play a certain way, you've got to buy in and we've got to play as a team. We've got to start doing it at home cause we're a little better on the road right now.

"The 0-3 in the win column bothers me. I want to win."

After Larkin broke the deadlock, the Red Wings added some insurance late.

Zetterberg made it 2-0 with 2:51 remaining. Larkin found the Red Wings captain in front of the Sabres' net with a strong pass from the point and Zetterberg did the rest with a nifty backhand deke on Lehner.

"I saw him sneak right back there," Larkin said. "Everybody in the rink except those five guys knew he was wide open."


Glendening added an empty-net goal with 48.8 seconds remaining.

NOTES: Red Wings C Brad Richards and D Niklas Kronwall were scratched. Richards missed the game after the death of his grandfather and is expected to return in time for Saturday's game against Anaheim. ... Kronwall is out 2-4 weeks after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery on Tuesday. ... D Josh Gorges (upper body), C Sam Reinhart (upper body) and C Carlo Colaiacovo were scratched for the Sabres. Gorges had a setback after returning to the lineup on Wednesday ... This was the fourth of five meetings between the Sabres and Red Wings this season. The fifth and final meeting takes place onMonday, March 28 in Detroit.

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