OPINION: Three observations: Sabres escape Detroit with shootout win

Buffalo wins 5-4 in a shootout over the Red Wings

Detroit, Mich. (WGR 550) - The Buffalo Sabres were back on the road Wednesday night for a short trip against the Detroit Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena.

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Detroit got the scoring going in the game with Jonatan Berggren scoring 80 seconds into the game.

Sabres forward Dylan Cozens tied things up shortly after with a shorthanded goal. Defenseman Mattias Samuelsson then gave the Sabres the 2-1 lead at the midway point of the period with his first NHL goal.

Buffalo kept the goals coming in the second period, as Cozens added his second of the night halfway through the period, followed by Jeff Skinner scoring two minutes later to give Buffalo a 4-1 lead.

The third period was a challenging one for the Sabres.

Red Wings forward David Perron kicked off the scoring for the period, and then Oskar Sundqvist scored two goals in two minutes to tie the game for Detroit.

With the Red Wings continuing to pressure, the Sabres successfully killed off a 5-on-3 penalty kill situation that lasted until the dying seconds of the third period, forcing overtime.

Overtime wasn't as eventful for either side with only a couple of shots being registered in the extra five minutes. This forced a shootout, where Sabres goaltender Craig Anderson was perfect, stopping all three shooters.

Meanwhile, Sabres forward Jack Quinn won the game in walk-off fashion for his team in the third round of the shootout with a nifty goal, waiting out goalie Alex Nedeljkovic to seal the victory.

The Sabres, once again, had a big lead and couldn't close things out in regulation. This time, however, they were able to recover and secure the win.

Here are this game's three observations:

Tage Thompson
Photo credit Rich Osentoski - USA TODAY Sports

1.) Faceoffs

Winning anything off the draw for the Sabres in this game was nearly impossible. The team was credited for winning only 32% of faceoffs throughout the whole game.

A large part of these were lost while the Sabres were shorthanded, which can make things significantly harder on penalty killers on the ice.

One of the main issues the Sabres had towards the end of this game was possession, and these faceoffs would've made a huge difference for the team to keep hold of their lead. Faceoffs are a key component in any team's victory, because they lead to immediate possession of the puck, and also good scoring chances.

Tage Thompson
Photo credit Rick Osentoski - USA TODAY Sports

2.) Improvements on the penalty kill

Buffalo had a rough night on the penalty kill against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday, but saw massive improvements against the Red Wings on Wednesday.

One thing the team did that helped a lot was actually scoring while shorthanded, something the Sabres haven't done all too much this season. Cozens' goal was a definite bright spot for the penalty killers in this game.

The team successfully killed off all seven of Detroit's power play opportunities, including a two-man advantage in the final minute of the game. They cleared the puck as soon as they could, and made sure to waste as much time as possible in these many moments.

Jack Quinn
Photo credit Rich Osentoski - USA TODAY Sports

3.) Stay focused

The main issue the Sabres have suffered from in the last two games is surrendering multi-goal leads in the third period. They lost a three-goal lead in the third in this game in just a matter of minutes, and looked very uninspired for most of the period.

However, this time around, the team was actually able to recover and finish what they started, albeit in a shootout, unlike times before. Buffalo can't keep having these moments of lackadaisical play while closing out a game, because good teams won't let that go unpunished.

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The Sabres return home Thursday night to square off against the Colorado Avalanche. Due to the Buffalo Bills playing on "Thursday Night Football", coverage of this Sabres game will begin at 6 p.m. EST on TheBET 1520 AM with Brian Koziol. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. EST.

Photo credit Losi-Gangi
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Featured Image Photo Credit: Rich Osentoski - USA TODAY Sports