DETROIT — Sam Reinhart scored in the seventh shootout round to extend the Buffalo Sabres' winning streak to nine with a 3-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings Saturday night at Little Caesars Arena.
With the Tampa Bay Lightning and Nashville Predators both idle, the Sabres, now 16-6-2, lead the NHL with 34 points. They've earned points in nine straight for the first time since 2012 and are 10-0-2 when scoring first. Again, the streak was in doubt.
Reinhart scored on a backhander to beat Jimmy Howard after Tage Thompson extended the game in the fifth round. Thompson also scored a power play goal on a slap shot 7:40 into the third period to give Buffalo the lead, but the Red Wings tied it six minutes later when a slap shot deflected off the post and the puck was poked over the goal line by Anthony Mantha.
The Sabres failed to capitalize on the power play during overtime. The Red Wings, 10-11-2, tied the score 53 seconds into the second period when Dylan Larkin ripped a wrist shot from near the left-wing boards over Linus Ullmark's blocker. Ullmark, starting in place of Carter Hutton, made 35 saves, including two on breakaways.
Jack Eichel's turnover near the blue line gave Larkin a breakaway less than seven minutes into the third, and Anthony Mantha had one in the second. His stop on Larkin shifted momentum and Tage Thompson scored the go-ahead power play goal on Buffalo's ensuing possession in the offensive zone at 7:40.
Jeff Skinner took over the NHL lead with his 18th goal of the season 3:37 into the first period, when he shot a rebound past Jimmy Howard for a power play goal, though the Winnipeg Jets' Patrik Laine took the lead with five goals Saturday night. Skinner's scored 18 goals in 20 games after behind held scoreless the first four games of the season.
Another blunder: Housley's willing to live with his defensemen making mistakes when joining the rush, so the Red Wings attempted to keep one of their wingers in the neutral zone to try to cherry pick behind Buffalo's defensemen.
That strategy nearly paid off 12:05 into the second period, when Anthony Mantha had a breakaway, but Ullmark made the save to keep the score tied, 1-1.
Immediate impact: Sabres winger Remi Elie, a healthy scratch the past 10 games, was back in the lineup Saturday, playing on the fourth line and penalty kill. He almost scored the go-ahead goal 49 seconds into the third period by forcing a turnover deep in the Red Wings' end and firing a quick backhanded shot that almost went over the goal line off Howard's skate.
Another ugly second: In addition to Larkin's goal, the Sabres struggled to sustain possession during the second period. They were outshot, 11-5, and couldn't capitalize on a power play.
23-for-25: Winger Zemgus Girgensons, one of Buffalo's best on the penalty kill, was a healthy scratch and replaced by Elie in the lineup. Still, the Sabres killed two Detroit power plays and have have killed 23 of their last 25 over the last 11 games, including three Saturday night.
November milestone: With his first-period goal, Skinner became the first Sabres player to score 12 goals in November since Gilbert Perreault accomplished the feat in 1977. Perreault finished that season with 41 goals in 79 games. Skinner also moved ahead of the Boston Bruins' David Pastrnak for the NHL scoring lead, the first time since 2013 a Sabres player has led the league in goals. Skinner's on pace to score 64 goals after having 24 in 82 games last season with Carolina.
Close calls: The Sabres outshot the Red Wings, 17-13, in the first period, but they were lucky to escape with the lead. Ullmark had to stop Justin t scoring chance from the slot after a bad turnover less than a minute into the first, and he later blocked defenseman Dennis Cholowski's wrist shot during a 2-on-1 with 11:07 remaining in period.
Rasmus Ristolainen broke up another 2-on-1 by poke checking a Thomas Vanek pass away from the slot, and Red Wings defenseman Mike Greene couldn't capitalize on a 3-on-2 later in the period when his shot went wide of the net.
Bad sheet: Both teams struggled to handle the puck because of the ice conditions in the first period. Detroit almost benefited from that greatly, when a puck shot into the Sabres' defensive zone hit a rough spot in the ice and nearly bounced into a wide-open net.
Ullmark had exited the crease to try to play the puck behind the boards and barely stopped it from crossing the goal line midway through the period.
Another change: In addition to putting Reinhart back on the top line, Housley replaced Rasmus Dahlin with Ristolainen on the top power play. Ristolainen was outstanding on the power play during overtime Friday against the Montreal Canadiens, earning the promotion. Assistant coach Steve Smith said previously the plan is for the two defensemen to rotate throughout the season.
Power-play woes: Buffalo has scored at least one power play goal in three consecutive games, however, Skinner's goal in the first broke a 3-for-20 slump. This was the fourth time this season the Sabres have scored two power play goals in a game.
Next: The Sabres will not skate Sunday and will return to practice 10 a.m. Monday at KeyBank Center. They'll host the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday at 7 p.m.