Once-anemic power play leads Sabres past Wings

Buffalo Sabres defenseman Jake McCabe (19) and Detroit Red Wings forward Michael Rasmussen (27) battle for position in front of Buffalo Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark (35) during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019, in Buffalo N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)


AP Hockey Writer

BUFFALO, N.Y. — A day after the Sabres clarified several comments made off the ice, coach Phil Housley was impressed watching his team clean up its various mistakes and deficiencies on it.

The power play got goals from Casey Mittelstadt and Kyle Okposo, goalie Linus Ullmark didn’t have to resort to acrobatics in stopping 28 shots behind a tighter-checking defense, and Buffalo beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-1 on Saturday.

“I think they refocused, but that’s the thing for me is that’s a tight group in there,” Housley said. “I think it just brought us tighter together, the things that went on.”

Housley was referring to himself and forward Sam Reinhart spending Friday clarifying eye-opening comments each made following a 6-5 overtime loss to Carolina.

Reinhart personally and publicly apologized to Ullmark and fellow goalie Carter Hutton, after saying he misspoke in saying “we need more from our goalies.” What Reinhart said he meant to say is the team needs to do more for its goalies.

After being outshot 12-4 in the opening period, the Sabres broke through with three goals in the second.

Ullmark bounced back after allowing 10 goals on 75 shots in his previous two outings — and after Buffalo had allowed four or more goals in eight of its previous 10.

The only costly miscue was on Ullmark, who was out of position in allowing Dylan Larkin to cut Buffalo’s lead to 2-1 on a wrap-around goal with 2:46 remaining in the second period.

Okposo bailed him out 2:15 later by beating Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard high on short side with a shot from the left circle.