Detroit, MI (SportsNetwork.com) - Mikael Samuelsson and Pavel Datsyuk tallied 36 seconds apart in the first period and Jimmy Howard turned away 19-of-20 shots, as the Detroit Red Wings took down the Buffalo Sabres, 2-1, in the season opener for both teams.
The Red Wings have beaten beaten Buffalo in 12 of the last 13 matchups at Joe Louis Arena since 1996.
Howard is coming off the best season of his career, in which he posted a 2.13 goals-against average and tied for a league-best with five shutouts.
Detroit, which had been a member of the Western Conference since 1993-94, got off to an ideal start as a part of the East following the league's realignment this offseason.
Zemgus Girgensons lit the lamp for Buffalo, which came up short on all seven of its power-play opportunities.
Ryan Miller was steady following the two early goals, stopping 32-of-34 shots in the narrow defeat.