As much suffering as we all have gone through this year, it is hard to believe the end is in sight. Just four games, two home and two road, including tonight are all that stand in the way of the offseason for the blue and gold. The team cannot shake the injury bug, which means Andrey Makarov will back up Matt Hackett tonight. Makarov takes the place of Natnan Lieuwen, who was concussed on Sunday at Philly. For more, inlcuding more players on the move to and from Rochester, click here for Paul Hamilton's pregame primer.
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18:26 - Mike Weber is headed to the penalty box for the game's first minor. He will sit for two or less for delay of game.
14:00 - Buffalo was able to kill of Weber's minor with ease and were rewarded with a Darren Helm minor right after. No real good scoring chances, but the pace is starting to pickup here in the first.
9:38 - Shots on goal are 7-6 in favor of Buffalo, but I am hard pressed to remember anymore than five combined. It seemed like there was a good pace developing, but that stopped quickly.
3:15 - Detroit has had the better of the scoring chances as this period has drawn on. The Sabres are outshooting Detroit 9-8, but I would suspect the visitors are outchancing Buffalo.
End of Period
BUF: 1:34 - Mike Weber (2 min., delay of game). 17:07 - Mark Pysyk (2 min., hooking)
DET: 3:57 - Darren Helm (2 min., goaltender interference)
Shots on Goal
BUF - 9, DET - 12
18:29 - SABRES GOAL. Well, that did not take long in the middle stanza. Buffalo controlled the puck for the better part of the 1:30 to open the period and the hard work pays off. Zemgus Girgensons nets his 7th goal of the year to break the scoreless tie. 1-0 BUF.
13:50 - Weber takes a needless penalty after hitting Gustav Nyquist right in the back. He saw the back of Nyquist the whole time as he went in and hit him anyways. A really bad penalty.
7:32 - RED WINGS GOAL. A missed opportunity in the offensive end puts the Sabres back on their heels, and a very nice cross-ice pass leads to the game tying goal for Detroit. Brendan Smith left no doubt in blasting a one-time chance past Matt Hackett. 1-1 tie.
6:39 - Buffalo has a 5-on-3 power play for more than 1:30 thanks to Danny DeKeyser and Justin Abdelkader. This is a golden opportunity for the blue and gold to re-take the lead.
End of Period
BUF: 1:31 - Zemgus Girgensons (7) (Cody Hodgson, Mike Weber)
DET: 12:28 - Brendan Smith (5) (Johan Franzen, Daniel Alfredsson)
BUF: 5:37 - Mike Weber (2 min., boarding). 18:36 - Brian Flynn (2 min., holding)
DET: 12:47 - Danny DeKeyser (2 min., holding). 12:56 - Justin Abdelkader (2 min., delay of game)
Shots on Goal
BUF - 9 (18), DET - 13 (25)
16:49 - Buffalo is able to kill off an early minor by Chris Stewart, and had a 2-on-1 chance to boot.
16:26 - RED WINGS GOAL. Just as I typed that Darren Helm won a mad scramble in front of the Buffalo net and scored on what looked like a wide open goal. There were bodies all over the ice, but no one could clear the puck. 2-1 DET.
10:16 - The Red Wings have been somewhat lethargic tonight, maybe even disinterested with Buffalo. However, they have dominated since scoring six minutes ago.
6:55 - The last thing Buffalo needs is another injury to a goaltender. Hackett just blocked a shot with his helmet, but he looks to be OK.
4:14 - RED WINGS GOAL. Everyone in the seating bowl is headed for the exits after David Legwand makes it a two-goal lead for Detroit. That should put this one into the barn. 3-1 DET.
2:11 - SABRES GOAL. Buffalo is not dead and buried yet. Zemgus Girgensons picks up his second goal of the game, and the blue and gold are back within one. 3-2 DET.
:4.3 - RED WINGS GOAL. With the net empty, Pavel Datsyuk puts the exclamation point on the night. 4-2 DET.
End of Game
Detroit 4, Buffalo 2
BUF: 17:49 - Zemgus Girgenson (8) (Cody Hodgson, Mark Pysyk)
DET: 3:33 - Darren Helm (12) (Kyle Quincey). 15:46 - David Legwand (14) (Drew Miller). 19:55 - Pavel Datsyuk (17) (unassisted)
BUF: 1:11 - Chris Stewart (2 min., roughing)
Shots on Goal
BUF - 9 (27), DET - 12 (37)
What really is there left to say? This season is coming to a close in just a matter of days with just three more games on the docket. I do not thin you can say the blue and gold are "running for the bus" because this is the same effort that they have been putting in for almost all of the season, save a small stretch in late November to early December. The blue and gold head to Madison Square Garden for a date with the New York Rangers on Thursday night. The puck drops just after seven o'clock on the flagship home of the Sabres Radio Network - WGR Sports Radio 550. Pregame coverage starts with Mike Schopp and the Bulldog at 6 p.m.