Morning Skate: Sabres at Red Wings

He's baaaaack! - Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Game 77

7:30p ET, Joe Louis Arena

Detroit, MI

TV: Fox Sports Plus

Radio: 97.1 The Ticket

Sabres Blog: Die By The Blade

Playing Buffalo right now makes me more uncertain and nervous than playing Boston. The combination of the Sabres being a bottom feeding team we "should" beat, and coming off a slight high of beating Boston makes me a tad nervous that the team may not start on time and bring their A game. I hope they prove my fears to be silly and unwarranted. There is some exciting new tonight, Pavel Datsyuk says he's playing tonight! He practiced on a line with Darren Helm and Justin Abdelkader, and while Pasha has been out of the lineup for a while, his sense of humor has not atrophied.

"It's been long time no play; I forget I'm hockey player."

Asked if Helm's speed can help, he [Datsyuk] said, "I don't know if his speed helps me, he looks like me, old, slow guy." - Khan's full article can be found here

Getting Datsyuk back, even if he's 60% can still be a huge boost to the team. I don't care if he plays lower minutes and can't make his patented Datsyukian moves yet, having him back on the ice is going to be a relief.

The Wings hold on to the first wild card spot in the East, one point ahead of Columbus and two points ahead of Toronto (thanks a lot, Boston) and we still have two games in hand on the Leafs. Something something, two big point, something something. The Sabres played last night and lost to the Blues, we really don't have any excuse for not winning this game. Marcus Foligno went down awkwardly on his right leg last night, had to be helped off the ice, and did not return. He's questionable for tonight.

There's no official word yet on who sits if Alfredsson does play, but it will probably be either Jokaim Andersson or Todd Bertuzzi. I'm hoping it would be Joakim Andersson. Whatever, just win this frking game.


The Expected Lineup

Forwards

Johan Franzen David Legwand Gustav Nyquist
Pavel Datsyuk Darren Helm Justin Abdelkader
Tomas Tatar Riley Sheahan Tomas Jurco
Drew Miller Luke Glendening Todd Bertuzzi

Defensemen

Niklas Kronwall Brendan Smith
Kyle Quincey Danny DeKeyser
Brian Lashoff Jakub Kindl

Goaltenders

Jimmy Howard (starting)
Jonas Gustavsson


Scratches: Joakim Andersson. Daniel Alfredsson (back) will be a game time decision

Injuries: Jonathan Ericsson (finger), Daniel Cleary (knee), Stephen Weiss (groin), Henrik Zetterberg (back), & Mikael Samuelsson (who cares)

SABRES THE MATCH-UP RED WINGS
21-46-9 (51 pts; 30th in NHL) Record 36-26-14 (84 pts; 1st in WC Race)
1.83 (30th in NHL) Goals Per Game 2.63 (18th in NHL)
2.92 (25th) Goals Against Per Game 2.72 (18th)
14.3% (29th) Power Play % 17.6% (18th)
81.4% (18th) Penalty Kill % 83.4% (10th)
Tyler Ennis (21 goals) Goal Leader Gustav Nyquist (28 goals)
Tyler Ennis (41 points) Points Leader Henrik Zetterberg (48 points)


Opponent Outlook

Player to Fear: Tyler Ennis is the most offensive player the Sabres have. He leads them in goals and points.

X-Factor: Cody Hodgson, because he looks like Liev Schreiber. Do you see where I"m going with this?

Familiar Faces: Vilie "I have fewer goals this season than John Scott" Leino. Leino has 0 goals this season. Woof.

Thumbs up (One Thing to Like About Buffalo): They finally set Ryan Miller free.

Thumbs down (One Thing to Dislike About Buffalo): They're a dumpster fire all over the place.


Bullets of Knowledge

  • The Red Wings are 52-52-13-1 (W-L-T-OTL) all-time against the Sabres.

  • Last 10 games: Buffalo 2-7-1 (woof). Detroit 6-3-1.

  • Howard is 4-0-0 with a 1.12 GAA, .957 SV% and 1 SO in 5 career appearances against Buffalo. Yeah, you read that right.

Prediction: Buffalo Wings....With Tatar sauce.. Mmmm, yes please.

Let's Go Red Wings!!!

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