Gameday Updates: Red Wings at Sabres

That's a mighty fine crossover you're executing there, Tats. - Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Spor

The Detroit Red Wings start off a rather unfriendly week with two games against tough teams on the road, and the lone home game left against the Carolina Hurricanes. They can make their own lives easier with two points tonight against the now-officially worst team in the league, the Buffalo Sabres.

Red Wings

  • Jimmy Howard gets the start tonight. With a back-to-back tonight and tomorrow and three games in four nights through Friday, are we going to see Jonas Gustavsson again this season?

  • As that linked tweet from Helene St. James also points out, the rest of the lineup from Saturday against Montreal remains intact.

  • The lineup might be intact, but if yesterday's practice is any indication, coach Mike Babcock's infamous line blender is back at work again.

  • Despite the juggling, it looks like the power play which scored two goals on Saturday is going to stay the same.

  • No updates on any of the injured players. To recap: Jonathan Ericsson is still recovering from surgery on his broken finger, and will probably be out until the first round at the earliest; Henrik Zetterberg is slated to resume skating again this week; Stephen Weiss has been ruled out for the season.

Sabres

  • Not much was expected from the Sabres at the beginning of the season, but their injury situation certainly hasn't helped. They enter play tonight with thirteen players on the sidelines.

  • Three of those thirteen were hurt on Sunday against Philadelphia: Christian Ehrhoff with a sliced ear after getting hit by a puck (you can find the graphic pictures yourself if you want), Chad Ruhwedel with a concussion after unpunished* stupidity by Zac Rinaldo, and backup goaltender Nathan Lieuwen with a concussion.

  • Ehrhoff is a game-time decision, but replacements for Ruhwedel and Lieuwen have been called up in the form of Mark Pysyk and Andrey Makarov.

  • Matt Hackett is the projected starter. All this information and more on recent Sabres news can be found here.

  • The projected lineup for the Buffalo "We're gonna lose the lottery to Edmonton, aren't we?" Sabres:

    FORWARDS

    Marcus "mark youse" Foligno
    Tyler "the Menace" Ennis
    Chris "former Avalanche, former Blue" Stewart
    Torrey "wait, this guy's in Buffalo?" Mitchell
    Zemgus "one day, I will type this name without hitting backspace" Girgensons
    Cody "your pick: Vancouver or Buffalo" Hodgson
    Nicolas "ice road trucker" Deslauriers
    Johan "neither Franzen nor Adam" Larsson
    Matt "with the" D'Agostini
    Brian "from first to fourth line" Flynn
    Matt "why doesn't the Morning Skate ever remember me as a familiar face? I'm actually in the lineup and Ville Leino isn't!" Ellis
    Cory "don't fall for the" Conacher

    DEFENSE

    Jake "airman" McCabe
    Mark "you don't want to make him" Pysyk
    Christian "don't hassle the" Ehrhoff
    Rasmus "this is a really fun name to say" Ristolainen
    Jamie "the McDonald's" McBain
    John "Howard--he has three first names" Scott

    GOALTENDING

    Matt "pipe down and stop making such a" Hackett
    Andrey Makarov

Out of Town Scoreboard

Phoenix Coyotes at Columbus Blue Jackets: Two teams desperate for points for a playoff spot, although the funny thing is they're not competing against each other for that spot. It's an inter-conference game that should have lots of intensity with the stakes as they are: Phoenix still needs to take the second West wild card spot from Dallas, and Columbus is looking to fend off New Jersey and possibly overtake the Red Wings.

Toronto Maple Leafs at Tampa Bay Lightning: A point by Columbus against Phoenix combined with a regulation loss by Toronto here mathematically eliminates the Maple Leafs from playoff contention.

Washington Capitals at St. Louis Blues: Washington's on life support. One point by Detroit and two by Columbus mathematically eliminates the Capitals.

This game is the same situation as the last time we played Buffalo: There are points on the table ripe for the picking. Anything less than two points tonight puts all of us in a bit of a frenzy.

LET'S GO RED WINGS!!!

*Yes, I know Rinaldo was suspended four games. Four games for a hit like that which caused an injury and came from a player with a prior history?

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