As fans watched the Sabres twice come back to tie the Detroit Red Wings, the chant from the stands was growing in intensity.
"Let's go, Buffalo."
Tomas Tatar silenced it.
The Detroit forward cut across the Buffalo zone with 2:50 remaining and the crowd roaring, and he beat goaltender Chad Johnson with his shot to deliver a 4-3 win for the Red Wings on Saturday. The Sabres lost for the fourth straight game, falling to 15-20-4 overall and 8-12-2 in First Niagara Center.
The Sabres got all three goals from rookies. Jack Eichel scored twice in a span of 2:01 late in the second period to tie it, 2-2, while Sam Reinhart pulled the Sabres into a 3-3 tie.
Back in front: The Red Wings, who saw a 2-0 lead evaporate late in the second period, went back in front with 2:27 gone in the third. Henrik Zetterberg fed streaking Gustav Nyquist for a backhand chance that goaltender Chad Johnson stopped. Zetterberg, however, buried the rebound to put the Sabres’ in a 3-2 hole.
Reinhart back on board: Reinhart scored for the first time in 11 games to tie it, 3-3, with 11:02 remaining. Rasmus Ristolainen unleashed a power-play blast from the left circle, and Reinhart just missed the rebound chance. However, Detroit’s Tomas Nosek inadvertently blocked a teammate’s clearing attempt and sent the puck into the net, giving Reinhart credit for his ninth goal of the season.
Eichel Part One: Eichel ended Petr Mrazek’s shutout bid on Buffalo’s 23rd shot of the afternoon. The goalie never saw it. With Jamie McGinn planted at the top of the crease on the power play, Eichel skated into the right faceoff circle. He put his shot through the legs of Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall and past Mrazek’s right side as the goalie inched left to see past McGinn.
The goal, with 5:34 left in the second, made it two straight games with a power-play tally after a seven-game drought.
Eichel Part Two: Mrazek saw Eichel coming the whole way during a breakaway just 2:01 later but couldn’t stop him. The center deked left and went right to get around the goaltender and banked a shot off the post. It then ricocheted off Mrazek’s leg and into the net as the tripped-up Eichel crashed into the boards. He hopped up to celebrate the 2-2 tie with 2:33 remaining in the second.
Eichel has 13 goals this season, tied with Detroit’s Dylan Larkin for the rookie lead.
No hats: The last time fans in Buffalo had the chance to celebrate a hat trick by the home team was April 5, 2011, when Thomas Vanek scored three times against Tampa Bay.
Glove love: Mrazek had the fans and players looking to the scoreboard for a replay after snaring Evander Kane’s shot from the slot with his glove midway through the second period.
In a hole again: For the 24th time in their 39 games, the Sabres gave up the opening goal. Riley Sheahan and Brad Richards entered the Buffalo zone with a two-on-one, and Richards knuckled home the cross-ice pass with 7:01 left in the first period. It was the only goal of the opening 20 minutes. Detroit has taken a 1-0 lead in 25 of its 39 games.
Doubling up: The Red Wings opened a 2-0 lead on the power play with 6:59 gone in the middle period. As Zach Bogosian prepared to exit the penalty box, Sheahan tipped Mike Green’s point shot past goaltender Chad Johnson. The goal came with just two seconds left on Bogosian’s penalty. The Sabres have allowed a power-play goal in three straight games.
Early chances: The Sabres took 10 of the opening 13 shots but failed to get on the board. They finished the first period with an 11-7 shot edge. Johan Larsson had four chances in the opening 20 minutes, but the center remained stuck on one goal for the season.
Same lineup: The Sabres stuck with the same forward and defense combinations as the previous game. Tyler Ennis (upper body) was the scratched forward, with coach Dan Bylsma saying Ennis is out on a week-to-week basis after getting hurt Wednesday. Carlo Colaiacovo was the healthy scratch on defense for the 11th straight game.
Talking points: The Sabres had a substitute public-address announcer, and he had plenty of trouble with names. It started in pregame with the fumbling pronunciation of the scratched Colaiacovo and several Detroit starters. The missteps continued on goals and penalties.
Counting the house: The Sabres announced their third straight sellout of 19,070 for their fifth of 11 afternoon games.
Up next: The Sabres will host the Florida Panthers on Tuesday before embarking on a three-game journey through North America’s upper Midwest. Buffalo visits Chicago on Friday before heading to Winnipeg for Evander Kane’s return next Sunday. The Sabres will close the trip in Minnesota on Jan. 12.