When the Red Wings finally caught up to the Sabres, Buffalo coach Dan Bylsma advised his team not to get concerned over the sudden momentum swing.
"When they tied it, we talked about it now being a 12-minute game," Bylsma said. "If we could beat them over the next 12 minutes, we'd get the win, and that's what happened."
Less than 30 seconds after Buffalo let Detroit tie it, Evander Kane scored his second goal of the game to lift the Sabres over the Red Wings 4-3 on Tuesday night and get Bylsma his 300th NHL victory.
Kane got his fifth goal in seven games 8:29 into the third by taking a cross-ice pass from Brian Gionta and beating goalie Petr Mrazek with a high wrist shot to the glove side.
The Wings rallied from 2-0 and 3-1 deficits and thought they had tied it late when Frans Nielsen appeared the score, but the whistle had already been blown because goalie Robin Lehner was hurt after being struck in the throat by teammate Zach Bogosian's stick.
"That was a scary moment, because I couldn't really breathe or swallow," said Lehner, who was able to continue after being attended to by the Buffalo training staff.
The Wings didn't make much of a fuss about the quick whistle.
"The goalie got a stick in the throat," Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg said. "If that happened to Petr, we probably would want them to blow the whistle, too."
Detroit tied a season high, firing 43 shots at Lehner, 20 of them in the third period.
"I thought we've been better the last few games here getting pucks to the net," Zetterberg said. "We scored three so we just have to keep doing that coming up."
Detroit fell behind for the 10th straight game when Kane gave the Sabres a first-period lead by jamming the rebound of his wraparound attempt under Mrazek's arm.
Sam Reinhart made it 2-0 on a power play later in the opening period.
"It's just hard to win in the league and it's hard to score, and if you're constantly having to climb from behind, it makes it harder," Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said. "It's hard to win in this league if you're giving up four goals, so we've got to do a better job of making sure that doesn't happen."
Tuesday also marked the sixth consecutive game for Mrazek in which he's surrendered three or more goals.
"Obviously you want to be better, to not let as many goals in," Mrazek said. "I give us a chance to win the game if it's one or two goals.
"I have to be better, that's all."
The Wings got on the board at 14:46 of the second period when Zetterberg threw the puck toward the net from the corner of the rink and it banked in off Lehner's shoulder.
Just 23 seconds later, Buffalo's Jack Eichel skated around Detroit's Thomas Vanek and lifted a high shot past Mrazek.
Before the period was done, the Wings scored again. Dylan Larkin's shot hit teammate Drew Miller in the leg in front of the Buffalo net. The puck landed at Miller's feet, and he snapped a quick shot past Lehner.
Vanek's third-period power-play goal tied it at 3 and ended a 0-for-28 drought for Detroit with the man advantage.
NOTES: Detroit D Brendan Smith returned to the lineup after missing 12 games due to a knee injury. ... The Red Wings honored their 1996-97 Stanley Cup team prior to the game.
Sabres: Host Boston on Thursday night to begin a home-and-home set.
Red Wings: Play at Ottawa on Thursday night.