Detroit Red Wings dig a hole too deep this time in 6-3 loss to Buffalo Sabres

Detroit Free Press
Joe Yerdon |  Associated Press

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Note for the future: Five goals is too many.

A night after the Detroit Red Wings rallied from a 4-0 first-period deficit in Pittsburgh, the Wings fell behind 5-0 in the second, only to lose, 6-3. Kyle Okposo scored three times for the Sabres and Casey Mittelstadt had two goals in Buffalo’s fifth straight victory. The Wings scored three times in the third period to make it a two-goal game, but Okposo scored on an empty net to doom the chances of another comeback.

Jeff Skinner also scored for Buffalo, and Owen Power (Michigan), Zemgus Girgensons and JJ Peterka each had two assists. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made 28 saves and won his third straight start.

The Sabres had not practiced for a week. The Buffalo-area is recovering from a blizzard that killed at least 40 people.

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Dominik Kubalik scored two goals for Detroit, which lost for the seventh time in nine games. Jordan Oesterle also scored, and Magnus Hellberg made 29 stops.

Buffalo grabbed control with four goals in the second period, opening a 5-0 lead. Okposo had two of the goals, beating Hellberg at 11:21 and 14:02.

Okposo sealed the win with an empty-net goal with 3:38 left, No. 6 on the season. It was the captain’s first hat trick since Feb. 7, 2016, when he played for the New York Islanders.

Mittelstadt put Buffalo ahead to stay with 4:28 left in the first. He tapped the puck past Hellberg after a slap shot from Peterka went off the skate of Red Wings defenseman Jake Walman and right to Mittelstadt.

Skinner made it 2-0 when he intercepted a pass from Filip Hronek and snapped in a shot for his 17th goal.

Kubalik got his goals 1:48 apart in the third period, the latter on the power play at 4:23. Oesterle cut the Sabres’ lead to 5-3 at 7:11.

Free Press sports writer Ryan Ford contributed to this report.

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