Detroit — The Red Wings didn’t end the exhibition season probably the way they wanted.
The Wings ended the warm-up games Saturday with a 3-1 loss in Buffalo.
Sam Gagner was the lone Wings’ goal scorer, as the Wings finished the exhibition season with a 4-4-0 record.
Tage Thompson, Zemgus Girgensons (shorthanded) and Vinnie Hinostroza (empty net) countered for Buffalo.
It was Girgensons’ goal that was the difference.
Wings goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic attempted to handle the puck in front of him and batted the puck off defenseman Moritz Seider, directly to Girgensons.
BOX SCORE: Sabres 3, Red Wings 1
Nedeljkovic dove, but couldn’t stop Girgensons’ easy put back.
The Wings open the regular season Thursday at home against two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay.
Thrive or survive
Coach Jeff Blashill talked Thursday about what it’ll take for young players to stick on the opening night NHL roster.
Blashill mentioned how the Wings want to see players not overmatched, and making impacts on games.
And not merely playing to survive, and stay in the lineup.
“I would say there’s a lot of guys that can kind of play in the league and you kind of survive,” Blashill said.
“They go out shift by shift, maybe they try to not let anything bad happen. They don’t really create a whole bunch of positives, and they just kind of survive. Although there are guys that end up in those spots that shouldn’t be or are young players, it doesn’t make any sense to have them in a spot where they’re just surviving.
“It should be readily apparent from everybody out there, from the impact they have on the game that they’re going to be able to help the hockey team be a way better team,” Blashill said. “If you just see a flash here, like, ‘Oh, he’s a good skater,’ well that’s not good enough.
“The impact on the game is what matters the most. Again, are they thriving or are they kind of surviving?”
Forwards Lucas Raymond and Joe Veleno are two prospects the Wings must decide whether to remain in the NHL, or gain more experience in the minor leagues in Grand Rapids.
The roster needs to be set Monday by 5 p.m.
The Wings waived defensemen Luke Witkowski and Dan Renouf and goaltender Calvin Pickard, all of whom will start the season in Grand Rapids.
… Forwards Dylan Larkin, Robby Fabbri, Adam Erne, and Vladislav Namestnikov were among the players who sat out Saturday, as did injured Michael Rasmussen and Givani Smith. Both Rasmussen and Smith are day to day.
The Wings dressed 11 forwards and seven defensemen, with Gustav Lindstrom the lone defensemen who is expected to be on the roster who didn’t dress.