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Tribune News Service
Tribune News Service
Helene St. James

Red Wings get big performance from Dylan Larkin to edge Sabres, 4-3 in shootout

BUFFALO, N.Y. _ The Detroit Red Wings celebrated a goal, then celebrated another.

Their bid to celebrate a victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night at KeyBank Center required a shootout, but Dylan Larkin and Andreas Athanasiou came through to deliver a 4-3 victory.

It is the first time the Wings (13-38-4) have won since Jan. 10, and ended a nine-game winless streak.

Larkin scored twice in the first period to reach 15 goals on the season.

Jonathan Bernier's shutout bid was denied 5:48 into the third period when Jimmy Vesey tapped a rebound into Detroit's net to make it a one-goal game. The Sabres went on a power play 12 seconds after the goal, but the Wings executed their fourth successful kill of the night. That momentum didn't last long, though, as Scott Wilson scored when he redirected Colin Miller's shot at 8:29 of the third period.

The Wings converted on their fourth power play to retake the lead. Valtteri Filppula had the puck behind Buffalo's net and passed out front to Tyler Bertuzzi, who was by himself in front of the net and made quick work of the puck to earn his 18th goal of the season. The Sabres pulled Jonas Johansson with 2:22 to go in regulation and their gamble paid off when Evan Rodrigues scored with 46.2 seconds remaining.

The Wings celebrated their first goal since the 10:59 mark of the third period Friday when Larkin fired a shot from the left circle that eluded Jonas Johansson, who was screened by Luke Glendening, at 4:23 of the first period. Coach Jeff Blashill tweaked the lines in an effort to generate offense after the Wings were shutout in back-to-back games, putting Larkin with Robby Fabbri and Darren Helm, and Bertuzzi with Filppula and Justin Abdelkader.

The Wings were looking at a second penalty kill at 18:45 of the first period when Darren Helm was called for hooking, but seven seconds later Jack Eichel high-sticked Glendening. Bernier made a save on Sam Reinhart with eight seconds to go in the first period, and the Wings gained possession of the puck. Fabbri skated the puck into Buffalo's zone and passed to Larkin, who skated in on net and deked to his backhand to make it 2-0, with 0.2 seconds left on the clock. That was Larkin's 15th point in 20 career games against Buffalo. He had seven of Detroit's 16 shots on net after two periods.

Fabbri recorded his sixth multipoint game since being acquired Nov. 6 from the St. Louis Blues in exchange for grinder Jacob de la Rose. Fabbri set up both goals in the first period, and looked especially good on the second goal in carrying the puck up ice before finding Larkin wide open on the left flank. The two assists gave Fabbri 27 points since joining the Wings. He's played well with Larkin, but also on a line with Filppula at center, and has been a factor on the power play.

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