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Morning Skate- Sabres vs. Red Wings

The two teams at the bottom of the Atlantic Division square off hoping to turn around their season.

NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Buffalo Sabres Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo Sabres (12-13-8) vs.

Detroit Red Wings (15-15-4)

How To Watch/Listen/Read

Puck Drop: 7:30 pm EST

TV: Fox Sports Detroit

Radio: 97.1 The Ticket

Sabres SB Nation Blog: Die By The Blade

This was some needed time off for the Red Wings to potentially regroup for a seven game road trip that will include division games vs. Ottawa and the Centennial Classic in Toronto. First they have a winnable game at home against the continually struggling Buffalo Sabres.

The Sabres are the only team beneath the Wings in the standings but that comes with an asterisk. Sophomore superstar Jack Eichel suffered a scary looking high-ankle sprain in pre-season causing him to miss the first 20 games of the season. Since his return the Sabres reached at least a point in 8 of his 12 games. Eichel has five goals and three assists.

Still, the Sabres are haunted by many problems that have persisted over the past few seasons. Their goaltending is inconsistent and they continue to give up a glut of shots. While they’ve struggled defensively, their inability to finish chances and score has been their ultimate undoing. They’re averaging a little over two goals per game, ranking 28th in the NHL (for context, the Wings are currently 27th). Their lack of goal scoring could be attributed to missing Eichel, but there’s a decent amount of top-six scoring talent and one of the best young puck moving defensemen in the NHL, Rasmus Ristolainen. Simply put, the Sabres aren’t generating many high quality chances and haven’t been capitalizing on what they have. They have the 28th worst shooting percentage in the league. Slowly, that should tick up with Eichel in the line up, boosted by a supporting cast of Sam Reinhart, Ryan O’Rielly and Kyle Okposo. They’ll have the opportunity against the Wings porous defense.

The Red Wings injury woes continue as it appears it’s just going to be that kind of season. Green is going to miss tonight’s game and possibly be out against the Senators and Maple Leafs. Expected to be in his place is Nick Jensen, who finally made his NHL debut last week vs. Tampa, recording an assist on Detroit’s lone goal in a 4-1 loss. Jensen has filled the gap well, averaging a little over 16 minutes of ice time in his first two games.

It will be intriguing to see if Blashill took the short break to make any big adjustments to the lines. This will be a crucial two points, seeing this will be one of the easier games on the Wings schedule for the next two weeks. The comeback, shoot out win against Florida was a nice way to wrap up their bizarre trip southeast. Detroit played well but it was following another putrid effort in Tampa.

No projected lines given out from the diggers. We’ll go with the lines from Florida in the projected lineup and give you any updates in the Game Day Update.

Red Wings Projected Lineup, Injuries and Scratches












Injuries and Scratches

Green (lower body, day-to-day), Lashoff, Nosek, Coreau (back up)

Buffalo Sabres Projected Lineup, Injuries and Scratches

(courtesey of Die By The Blade and Daily Faceoff)


Marcus Foligno-Ryan O’Reilly -Sam Reinhart

Matt Moulson -Jack Eichel -Kyle Okposo

Evander Kane-Johan Larsson-Brian Gionta

Nicolas Deslauriers -Derek Grant-Zemgus Girgensons


Jake McCabe-Rasmus Ristolainen

Dmitry Kulikov-Zach Bogosian

Josh Gorges-Justin Falk


Robin Lehner

Injuries and Scratches

Tyler Ennis (groin), Taylor Fedun (shoulder), Cody Franson, William Carrier, Anders Nilsson (back up)


Game Day Prediction Contest

Would you like to predict the outcome of the game and potentially become internet famous? Well you're in luck, because here's your opportunity. Here's how it works.

Make your game predictions on the winning team, final score, and who the Wings player of the game will be. Enter the required information into the form below using the formats indicated in the questions. If you don't use those formats, your answers will be disregarded. All submissions are timestamped and will be accepted only until the official game start time. All other submissions after that will be disregarded. Only one submission per person, please. POTG will be determined by the collective of WiiM writers.

Each correct winning team prediction is worth 1 point. Each correct player of the game prediction is worth 2 points. Each correct final score prediction is worth 5 points. If you get all three correct you'll receive 15 points.