The Detroit Red Wings’ 3-0 lead slipped to 3-2, but they managed to hold on to beat the Buffalo Sabres on Friday.
In the process, Detroit is now on a four-game winning streak, beefing up their lead on the East’s top wild card spot to three standings points.
Pavel Datsyuk made his return to the lineup, and while he was dominant in the faceoff circle (11-2), the returning veteran was unable to register a point. Daniel Alfredsson was able to shine offensively, however, collecting the game-winning goal and an assist.
The youngsters managed to keep the good times going in their own right, with Tomas Jurco also finding the net. (Buffalo was able to hold Gustavv Nyquist off the scoreboard, however.)
It was a positive night for the Red Wings overall, as second wild card team Columbus saw a chance to get at least one point slip away thanks to a stunning late Chicago goal. While the Toronto Maple Leafs remained idle (and gained a little optimism thanks to Columbus’ stumbles), the New Jersey Devils took the 10th spot and send the Washington Capitals down to 11th in the process.
In short, Detroit, Toronto and New Jersey were Friday’s big winners while Washington and Columbus slipped. Here’s a look at how the East playoff picture appears following tonight’s relevant games (including Montreal storming back against Ottawa):