Tatar breaks tie in 3rd, Red Wings beat Sabres

NHL

DETROIT (AP) — The Detroit Red Wings were putting the puck everywhere other than into the net for two-plus periods. They were shooting off the post, across the crease and firing wide on chances.

Luke Glendening broke a scoreless tie late in the second period and Tomas Tatar scored a go-ahead goal midway through third and the Red Wings went on to beat the Buffalo Sabres 3-1 on Friday night.

“With all the chances we were getting and not scoring, it could’ve been one of those games that haunted us,” Glendening said. “We played smart and stuck with it and it paid off.”

Dylan Larkin scored late in the game to seal the victory and Jimmy Howard had 19 saves for the Red Wings. They have won consecutive games at home for the first time this season, showing Little Caesars Arena is starting to provide a home-ice advantage.

“It is starting to feel like home,” Glendening said.

Ryan O’Reilly pulled Buffalo into a 1-all tie 5:50 into the third before ending with a familiar result.

“We are embarrassed by this,” O’Reilly said. “We have to play with a much better effort that we showed.”

Robin Lehner gave his struggling team a chance, stopping the first 20 shots he faced and finishing with 30 saves.

“Robin is a very good goalie, who I got to know working out together last summer,” Howard said. “He’s a great competitor, who doesn’t quit.”

The Sabres have lost four straight, one away from their longest losing streak of the season, but were thankful they didn’t lose more than a game in Detroit.

Jack Eichel went to the dressing room late in the second period after coming off the ice slowly, keeping weight off his right skate following a collision with Glendening, and making a brief stop on the bench. Buffalo’s standout center was cleared to return at the start of the third period.

Eichel said he felt fine after the game, but he wasn’t happy with his team’s effort.

“They came at us in waves,” he said. “We know they have speed, but we didn’t respond to it. You have to be a strong forechecking team against them, and we just let them get the puck out of their zone with no problems at all.”

After a scoreless first period with a combined 14 shots, Detroit outshot Buffalo 13-4 in the second and took control without that translating to a big lead.

“They have a lot of speed, and they really took it to us in the second period,” Sabres winger Evander Kane said. “We didn’t get physical, and they just skated all over us.”

The Red Wings had a lot of chances to score, including a two-man advantage for 26 seconds, but scored only once over the first two periods.

O’Reilly took advantage of being down only a goal when he scored off a rebound early in the third.

Tatar, one of Detroit’s players to miss on opportunities to score earlier in the game, sent a wrist shot from the high slot through traffic and past Lehner 8:36 into the final period. Larkin sealed the victory by scoring with 4:06 left in the game.

NOTES: The Sabres have an Eastern Conference-low 14 points, a total that puts them ahead of only Arizona in the NHL. … Glendening has five goals in 20 games, scoring two more times than he did in 74 games last season.

UP NEXT

Sabres: Host the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night in a matchup of last-place teams.

Red Wings: Play the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday at home.

NHL suspends Red Wings’ Witkowski for 10 games for fighting

NEW YORK (AP) — The NHL has suspended Detroit Red Wings forward Luke Witkowski for 10 games, costing him more than $40,000 in lost salary, for his actions against the Calgary Flames.

The league announced the punishment Friday night after Detroit beat Buffalo 3-1.

Witkowski went after Calgary’s Brett Kulak late in an 8-2 victory Wednesday night. The fight escalated into a brawl when Witkowski, who had been escorted off the ice by the linesmen, attempted to return to the fray and was jabbed by the stick of Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk.

Witkowski has played in eight games this season, his first in Detroit after playing parts of the previous three seasons with the Tampa Bay Lightning.