For a second straight night, the Detroit Red Wings found themselves on the wrong side of a 4-0 deficit. Worse for Detroit, it was 5-0 by the end of the second period.
Though the result wasn’t the same, they still made it interesting with a goal-scoring barrage in the third period. Ultimately, Detroit would fall 6-3 but it was another impressive effort from a team that looked all but dead after the second period.
Buffalo Buries Detroit in a Five Goal Hole By the End of Two
Instead of having to dig out of a 4-0 deficit, the Red Wings played Buffalo tight until a flukey goal put the Sabres up 1-0 barely a second after Detroit killed off a penalty. Outshot 14-7, Detroit had two chances late in the first with Michael Rasmussen and Filip Hronek getting point blank chances with four aside.
Barely a minute into the second period, Hronek whiffed on a clearing attempt and Buffalo’s Jeff Skinner buried his 17th of the season, making it 2-0 Sabres. But from there, it would just snowball into a rout. Hronek batted one into his own net on the third goal, Kyle Okposo scored on a blown assignment, and then Hronek had a tough giveaway that resulted in Okposo’s second of the night.
For all of the good fortune Hronek experienced this season, Thursday’s contest was the antithesis. Trailing 5-0 after two, the Red Wings got to work in the third.
It is just not Filip Hronek’s night.
— Daniella Bruce (@daniellabruce_) December 30, 2022
Detroit Stages Furious Rally in the Third
The Red Wings would finally get their first goal after Elmer Soderblom had some nifty dekes that drew a defender to him. He slipped the puck to an all alone Domink Kubalik in the slot, who netted his eleventh goal of the season. It was Kubalik again on the power play just a few minutes later, pulling Detroit within three.
Then it was Jordan Oesterle getting in on the scoring with just over 12 minutes to play, bringing the Red Wings to within two. Detroit had its chances throughout the period, none better with just about six minutes left in the game. The Red Wings had an exhausted Buffalo line penned deep twice, but a pass from David Perron to Moritz Seider was frozen to give the Sabres a much-needed rest.
Lalonde pulled Hellberg with just under five minutes left and the Red Wings offense was buzzing, narrowly missing a fourth goal with 4:30 to go.
But Okposo found the puck once more and fired it into the empty net, giving him a hat trick on the night. It was also the final blow to the Red Wings comeback bid.
Hellish Luck for Hellberg Thursday Night
Magnus Hellberg entered Thursday’s game with a .930 save percentage on the season. But the first two goals were just brutal luck for the veteran netminder, who had no chance on either. He weathered a first period where Detroit was peppered with 14 shots. And in his second performance in as many days, he looked strong despite the outcome.
But of the five goals through two periods, Hellberg maybe had one legitimate chance to make a save. He also didn’t have a lot of goal support until it was too late.