Reuters - Sun, 14 Mar 08:51:00 2010
Brian Rafalski scored a powerplay goal in overtime to give the Detroit Red Wings a 3-2 home victory over the Northeast Division-leading Buffalo Sabres.
Rafalski's slap shot 31 seconds into overtime came after Sabres' rookie Tyler Myers received a penalty for delaying the game with just over a minute remaining in the third period.
"I saw the defenseman go right... so I knew I would have a good chance to get a shot through and Nick (Lidstrom) slid it over to me," Rafalski said.
The victory moved the Red Wings, who have won five of their seven games since the season resumed after the Winter Olympics, one point ahead of the idle Calgary Flames in the final playoff position in the Western Conference.
With the victory secured the Red Wings turned their sights to their next game on Monday in Calgary against the Flames, who they lost to on Tuesday.
"Going into Calgary on Monday could decide playoffs, so we wanted to make sure we had the two (points) here," Rafalski added.
Pavel Dastyuk and Patrick Eaves had scored 73 seconds apart in the first period to give Detroit an early 2-0 lead before Buffalo's Jochen Hecht tied the scores in the second period after his second goal of the game.
"Just right at the start I thought they won more battles than us in the second period for about five minutes," said Red Wings coach Mike Babcock.
"Other than that I thought we were pretty good, and I thought, to tell you the truth, they were fortunate I really thought to get through the first period 2-1. We had a lot of pressure on them."
NHL results (home team in CAPS):
PHILADELPHIA 3 Chicago 2
Florida 3 SAN JOSE 2 (OT)
TORONTO 6 Edmonton 4
MONTREAL 3 Boston 2
NY ISLANDERS 4 New Jersey 2
Phoenix 4 CAROLINA 0
DETROIT 3 Buffalo 2 (OT)
St. Louis 5 COLUMBUS 1
VANCOUVER 5 Ottawa 1