March 20-- DETROIT-The Detroit Red Wings couldn't overcome the damage inflicted in the first half of the game.
A strong second half Monday night at Joe Louis Arena saw the Wings try hard to continue the scoring touch from their previous two outings, but the Buffalo Sabres refused to surrender what ended as a 2-1 final, ending the Wings' nascent winning streak at two.
The benefit to losing as they carom toward the end of the regular season is improved odds in the draft lottery.
The Wings got scored on during two penalties but Tomas Tatar scored for the fourth time in the last three games, to pull the Wings within a goal headed into the third period. Petr Mrazek had made 19 saves through two periods. The Wings got their third power play early in the third period. Mike Green tried to convert on a wraparound attempt, and Robin Lehner made saves on Dylan Larkin and Riley Sheahan, as well as a slap shot try from Niklas Kronwall.
A fourth power play materialized with 6:35 to play in regulation. Frans Nielsen tried a shot off a faceoff, but otherwise the Wings had a hard time creating chances.
After converting twice in each of the last two games, the power play disappointed from start to finish Monday night.
Jack Eichel high-sticked Larkin in the face early in the first period to grant the Wings a power play. Henrik Zetterberg's unit ended up being out for the entire shift, and despite having possession the chunk of time, could only funnel one shot at Lehrer. Mrazek was busier, making saves on a slap shot from Zach Bogosian and a long wrist shot from Brady Austin.
The Wings fell behind when the Sabres used their NHL second-ranked power play to score at 10:59, when Eichel ripped a shot from the top of the left circle while Sam Reinhart provided a net-front presence. The Sabres built up a 7-2 edge in shots as they gained momentum. A goal post saved Tyler Ennis' shot from being a two-goal deficit. Meanwhile, Andreas Athanasiou shot wide on two quality chances, and both Nielsen and Anthony Mantha were stymied as they dug for the puck in the paint. Shots were 13-5 to Buffalo.
The Wings didn't respond as they should have to start the second period, continuing to play too much in their own zone and making Mrazek work hard to keep the deficit down.
Another man advantage inflicted more damage, when Matt Moulson got a piece of Ennis' shot, settled the puck and tapped it into Detroit's net for a 2-0 lead, at 8:59 of the second period.
The Wings replied with an even-strength goal at 12:53. Green threw pass into the paint that Tatar redirected for his 21st goal of the season. That stoked some momentum for the Wings, who finished the period with 12 shots.
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