Skip to main content

Surging Sabres looking to extend Red Wings’ woes

Mar 12, 2024; Buffalo, New York, USA;  Buffalo Sabres center Dylan Cozens (24) carries the puck up ice as Detroit Red Wings defenseman Jeff Petry (46) defends during the second period at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Red Wings haven’t qualified for the playoffs the past seven seasons. They’re in danger of extending that streak if they don’t end another very soon.

The Red Wings have lost seven straight games, all in regulation. It’s their longest losing streak since they dropped 12 in a row in November and December of 2019, the last 10 in regulation.

Detroit will try again to end the slide when it hosts the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday afternoon.

The Red Wings’ downward spiral began with two home losses. After coming up empty during a four-game road trip, they hoped a return to home ice would cure their ills.

Instead, they struggled to generate quality scoring chances in a 4-1 loss to Arizona on Thursday.

“We didn’t have jump tonight,” coach Derek Lalonde said. “There’s no doubt it felt like they had a little bit better legs. It’s probably a little bit of us pressing. I think our guys want it so much.”

The Red Wings have been outscored 36-12 during the losing streak. Detroit held the top wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference two weeks ago but currently is on the outside looking in.

“They got the first goal, we battled back, but it’s just tough as it gets right now in the room,” forward David Perron said after losing to the Coyotes. “We have to find a way to bounce back, get up, and put our pride on the line and be better.”

Defenseman Ben Chiarot said the turnaround must start in Detroit’s own zone.

“We need to get this going in the right direction,” he said. “We have to be better defensively. You see the chances we give up, the ones that shouldn’t happen, especially this time of year when everything should be going in the same direction. It should be like a machine at this point and everyone knows where they should be and be there at the right time and we’re not there yet. We need to get there in a hurry.”

Buffalo (69 points) has just three fewer points than Detroit after winning its last three games. The Sabres pummeled the Red Wings 7-3 in the second game of their streak on Tuesday.

Buffalo blitzed the Red Wings that night with four first-period goals. The Sabres followed that up by blanking another playoff contender, the New York Islanders, 4-0 on Thursday.

“I know a lot of people counted us out, but this group in this room, we never counted ourselves out,” forward Dylan Cozens said.

With 15 games remaining and momentum on their side, the Sabres are very much alive in the playoff chase.

“I don’t know if the math was ever against us,” coach Don Granato said. “I think there were other things against us. But the math is always, you play 82 games and teams lose games every night and teams win games every night. You’ve just got to stay in the moment and stay focused, and we have to do that.”

The latest victory featured Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, who made 21 saves while recording his fifth shutout of the season.

“He’s been incredible,” Cozens said. “You got so much confidence in him back there. We know he’s going to make big saves. He’s been arguably the best goalie in the league for the last while.”

–Field Level Media

Mentioned in this article:

More About: