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Detroit Red Wings snap 9-game losing streak with 4-3 shootout win in Buffalo

Detroit Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader, left, and goalie Jonathan Bernier celebrate a victory over the Sabres following a shootout on Thursday in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP photo)

By JOHN WAWROW
AP Hockey Writer
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Dylan Larkin scored twice and converted one of Detroit’s two shootout goals, and the Red Wings snapped a nine-game skid with a 4-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night.
Andreas Athanasiou sealed the victory by scoring on Detroit’s second shootout opportunity after Jonathan Bernier stopped Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart on Buffalo’s first two attempts.
Bernier finished with 29 saves through overtime and Tyler Bertuzzi also scored in a game the Red Wings rebounded after squandering a 2-0 third-period lead.
By improving to 1-8-1 in their past 10 and winning for the first time since a 3-2 shootout victory at Ottawa on Jan. 10, the Red Wings avoided their second 10-game losing streak of the season. Detroit went 0-10-2 during a stretch spanning November and December.
“Whew, finally,” said Larkin, who posted his ninth career two-goal game, and first since a 5-4 overtime victory over Buffalo on March 28.
“Just to come in the room and see smiles and listen to some music,” Larkin said. “Just a total team win. Everybody feels good right now. We’ve got to keep this going.”
Detroit also ended a nine-game road losing streak dating to a 2-1 win at Montreal on Dec. 14.
The Sabres earned a point when Evan Rodrigues tied it at 3 with 47 seconds remaining. That came some six minutes after his high-sticking penalty led to Bertuzzi’s power-play goal putting Detroit up 3-2.
With Buffalo’s net empty, Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen blocked Trevor Daley’s clearing attempt. The puck bounced into the slot, where Rodrigues gathered it and flipped it into the open right side of the net over Bernier’s out-stretched arms.
The Sabres erased Detroit’s 2-0 third-period lead when Jimmy Vesey and Scott Wilson — in his first game after being called up from the minors — scored 2:41 apart to tie the game at 2 with 11:31 remaining.
The effort still wasn’t good enough for a Sabres team that dropped to 1-4-1 in its past six.
“We definitely cannot be pleased with losing in penalty shots here today,” coach Ralph Krueger said.
“It’s the failed opportunities and the grit that we need to finish on those opportunities is definitely the reason for the loss today,” he added. “It was a good reaction in the third, coming back from two down. It was a good reaction to score 6-on-5 to bring it into overtime under the circumstances. But we shouldn’t have been in those circumstances.”
Larkin’s goal in the shootout was similar to the goal he scored to put Detroit up 2-0 in the final second of the first period to cap a 2-on-1 break.
Each time, Larkin sped in from the left wing and cut across the front of the net before backhanding a shot in behind Jonas Johansson, who was making his first career start.
Athanasiou then scored by firing a shot inside the left post.