Tage Thompson scored his 45th goal of the season, Dylan Cozens had two goals and the Buffalo Sabres outlasted the Detroit Red Wings 7-6 in a shootout Thursday night.
Henri Jokiharju, Zemgus Girgensons and Jordan Greenway also scored for the Sabres, and Devon Levi made 26 saves.
“One-on-one against Dylan Larkin is a pretty crazy way to finish up your first shootout,” Levi said. “The guys played a great game and I just wanted to give them an opportunity to get the win. Even when they got the late goal to tie it, I knew we still had a chance to win in overtime..
“And when we didn’t get a goal there, I knew we had an opportunity in the shootout.”
Alex Tuch and Jack Quinn scored in the shootout.
“Every game takes on a life of its own, and that one took on a monstrous life tonight,” Sabres coach Don Granato said. “I’m just trying to manage everything and keep guys positive. You obviously can’t afford to dwell on mistakes in a game like that.”
Thompson is the first Sabres player to reach 45 or more goals in a single season since Alexander Mogilny (76) and Pat LaFontaine (53) did so in 1992-93. Thompson also has 91 points, becoming the first Sabres player to reach that mark since Daniel Brière had 95 in 2006-07.
Larkin, Austin Czarnik, Alex Chiasson, Simon Edvinsson, Jonatan Berggren and David Perron scored in regulation for the Red Wings. Lucas Raymond scored the only shootout goal for Detroit, and Ville Husso made 30 saves.
But with Florida and the New York Islanders winning Thursday night, the Red Wings were eliminated from playoff contention.
“This team could have easily — and maybe should have — just quit,” Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde said. “They actually went the other way. That’s points in five of our last six and we’re going through playoff teams, teams that are playing for their lives and a couple of the best teams in the league.
“That’s a credit to the guys and I think it’s very important going into next year.”
Larkin’s goal was his 32nd, tying his career high, originally set in the 2018-19 season.
“I think there’s certainly more hope for next season,” Larkin said. “Again, tonight’s game we had the message where we’re gonna be battling with these guys. We weren’t good against them this year, but tonight was certainly better. It was certainly a better battle level. We were much more engaged tonight.”
With three assists Thursday, Owen Power has six in the last five games. He’s the first Sabres rookie defenseman with six or more assists in a five-game stretch since Nikita Zadorov did from Jan. 18-Feb. 8, 2015.
NOTES: Cozens became the 10th Sabres player to score 30 or more goals in his age 21 season or earlier and is the first to do so since Mogilny (30) and Pierre Turgeon (32) both did it in 1990-91. ... Jokiharju’s goal was his first since Nov. 22 at Montreal and marked his second in his last three games against Detroit. ... Power is one of just six Buffalo defensemen to record three or more assists in a single game, joining Doug Barrie, Phil Housley, Calle Johansson, Timo Julia and Tyler Myers. ... Raymond’s three assists gave him 101 points for the season and he is the third-youngest Red Wings player to reach the 100-point mark at 21 years, nine days. Current Detroit executive vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman was 19 years, 274 days old and Gordie Howe was 20 years, 350 days old when they hit 100 points.
Sabres: Host the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday.
Red Wings: Host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday. —