Buffalo at Detroit

Wings get past Sabres on Rafalski's goal 31 seconds into OT


DETROIT -- Ryan Miller got a warm reception, playing in his home state for the first time since helping the United States win a silver medal at the Olympics.

Then, Miller gave fans of the Detroit Red Wings more reasons to cheer.

Brian Rafalski scored a power-play goal 31 seconds into overtime, lifting Detroit to a 3-2 win over Miller and the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night.

"Every point is crucial," said Rafalski, also a key member of the U.S. Olympic team. "I'm glad we got two."

Miller's parents had conflicting interests at Joe Louis Arena because they had two sons on the ice, with Drew Miller playing forward for Detroit.

"Actually, they're probably happy with the result," Ryan Miller said. "Drew's team needed the points more than we did and we still got a point."

Detroit, which blew a two-goal lead, moved into eighth place in the Western Conference standings ahead of the idle Calgary Flames.

"It was a huge win," said Jimmy Howard, who made 24 saves.

The Red Wings have won five of seven since the Olympic break. They will start a three-game trip Monday night against the Flames, who had a comeback win Tuesday night at Detroit and are vying for the final spot in the West.

"We owe Calgary after they embarrassed us in our own barn in the third period," Howard said. "We'll be ready."

The Sabres are 3-4 since the Vancouver Games, giving Ottawa hopes of winning the Northeast Division.

Detroit took advantage of a power play in the extra period when Buffalo defenseman Tyler Myers, a rookie of the year candidate, cleared the puck over the glass and was called for delay of game.

"Got to have a little more focus and bear down and make sure it goes of the glass," Myers said.

Rafalski's slap shot from the left circle beat Miller on the short side. It was Rafalski's first winning goal this season.

The Red Wings got off to a great start against Miller, scoring on their second and third shots of the game.

Pavel Datsyuk and Patrick Eaves put Detroit ahead a few minutes into the game, then Jochen Hecht pulled Buffalo within a goal at the 7:05 mark of the first period. Hecht tied it 5½ minutes into the second on another goal off a rebound.

Miller bounced back from his rough start to make 34 saves.

His Olympic teammate wasn't surprised.

"He doesn't get frustrated or rattled," Rafalski said. "He's a big goalie and a big-time goalie."

Miller fell to 1-2 against his younger brother in the NHL.

"It was fun," Ryan Miller said. "He had a couple of good chances."

Their mother, Teresa, attended the game and wore a homemade jacket that was half blue and half red with both of her son's numbers on the back.

"I made this!" she said proudly during the second intermission.

  • The Millers grew up in East Lansing and played for their hometown Michigan State Spartans.
  • Hecht had his 15th and 16th goals, scoring twice in a game for the second time this season.
  • Buffalo began a five-game road trip at Detroit and won't return home until March 24.
  • The Red Wings' next home game is a week from Monday against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a matchup of the past two Stanley Cup champions.
Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
The Red Wings have a lot to celebrate as their win puts them in the West's final playoff spot for now. (AP)
The Red Wings have a lot to celebrate as their win puts them in the West's final playoff spot for now. (AP)
Buffalo (36-20-10)11002
Detroit  (33-23-12) «20013
Three Stars
R. Miller

Saves: 34
Save Pct.: .919
J. Hecht

Goals: 2
Assist(s): 0
P. Eaves

Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0

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Scoring Summary
02:02Pavel Datsyuk (21), Wrist Shot. Assist: Stuart, Kronwall
03:15Patrick Eaves (10), Wrist Shot. Assist: Helm
07:02Jochen Hecht (15), Backhand Shot. Assist: Pominville, Connolly
05:30Jochen Hecht (16), Wrist Shot. Assist: Pominville, Connolly
31.0Power Play - Brian Rafalski (6), Slap Shot. Assist: Lidstrom, Zetterberg
Penalty Summary
08:45Grier, 2 min, Slashing
09:25Datsyuk, 2 min, Interference
18:38Myers, 2 min, Boarding
17:01Cleary, 2 min, Hooking
04:41Roy, 2 min, Interference
09:10Kronwall, 2 min, Hooking
18:47Myers, 2 min, Delay of Game - Puck Over Glass
Shots On Goal
Ryan Miller 60:31343
Jimmy Howard 60:31242
Game Information
Attendance - 20066
Referees - Tom Kowal, Kevin Pollock
Linesmen - Scott Cherrey, Mark Pare
Other Games
StL 5 Final
Colu 1
Ott 1 Final
Van 5
NJ 2 Final
Bos 2 Final
Mon 3
Pho 4 Final
Car 0
Fla 3 Final
SJ 2
Chi 2 Final
Phi 3
Edm 4 Final
Tor 6