Tyler Bertuzzi scored his second goal of the game 2:18 into overtime as the Detroit Red Wings concluded a stellar five-game trip with their third straight win, defeating the Buffalo Sabres 5-4 on Thursday night.
Bertuzzi’s winner capped a 4-1-0 trip for the Red Wings, who have won five of their last six overall despite being eliminated from playoff contention.
Buffalo suffered its fifth straight loss while mired in a 3-15-3 stretch. However, the Sabres gave a far more spirited effort than Tuesday’s 4-0 loss at lowly Ottawa.
With the score tied 2-2 in the third, Dylan Larkin scored twice to give Detroit a 4-2 lead with 6:56 to play. However, Casey Mittelstadt’s 12th goal of the season with 4:59 to go in regulation brought the Sabres within one. Then, Jack Eichel’s 100th career tally 41 seconds later on what became a one-on-one situation with Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard (35 saves) tied the score again and ultimately forced overtime.
The Red Wings scored the game’s first goal with 7:58 left in the first. On the power play, Bertuzzi, who later had an assist, directed in a perfect slot pass from Anthony Mantha (three assists) past Buffalo goalie Linus Ullmark (29 saves). Detroit made it 2-0 one minute into the second, when defenseman Filip Hronek one-timed another pinpoint Mantha pass by a helpless Ullmark.
Kyle Okposo brought the Sabres within a goal with two seconds left on a power play at 6:12 into the second. Okposo’s 12th of the season came off a quick release that beat Howard to the short side.
The Sabres kept the pressure coming and were again rewarded. Marco Scandella converted a quick wrister by Howard’s short side with 2:44 remaining in the second to make it 2-2 entering what would be a wild third period.
With those two goals, Larkin reached 30 for the first time in his four-year career.