Morning Skate: Red Wings vs Sabres - Preview, How to Watch
Time: 5:00 PM EST
Place: Little Caesars Arena
TV: FS-Detroit, ESPN+, MSG-B
Radio: 97.1 FM The Ticket/1270 AM
Sabres Blog: Die By the Blade
Today the Red Wings play the Buffalo Sabres in an early evening game at the LCA. The Wings are looking to finish off a strong week after winning their last two games against the Senators and Canadiens. The most recent tilt with the Senators went down to the wire including a bewildering overtime sequence where Detroit couldn’t bury on several consecutive chances, until finally taking the win in a shootout.
Don’t expect to see any changes to the Red Wings lineup from what they rolled out on Friday night against Ottawa. None of their injured personnel are set to return according to the most recent updates meaning Anthony Mantha and Andreas Athanasiou will remain out.
One player who is certainly looking to repeat their performance is Dylan Larkin who scored perhaps his best goal of the season on Friday night with a powerplay rush that saw him burn by two defenders before making a great move at the net to bury it. Larkin stood out all game and eventually scored the shootout winner as well. He’s also riding high lately getting points in each of the last five games, and seven points overall over the last seven games. The Wings will need him to continue that pace, especially while some of the other top forwards remain out.
All-Star Tyler Bertuzzi appears to have snapped out of his brief slump picking up three points in the two victories. The other current member of the top line also picked up points in each of the last two games. The top trio will again be relied on to do most of the heavy lifting in regards to scoring. The player outside of these three that most eyes will be on is Filip Zadina looking to continue filling nets with pucks after failing to do so against the Senators. Zadina’s game continues to improve rapidly and has the looks of a line driver as he continues to get his feet under him.
In between the pipes, Jonathan Bernier looks to get another start as he has clearly taken control of the net over Jimmy Howard. Bernier’s steady play has been a welcome addition lately as he’s able to keep games at least within striking distance for the rest of the team.
Saturday’s practice saw the lines from Friday night remain unchanged. Filip Zadina works in with Valtteri Filppula and Adam Erne. Brendan Perlini will continue to wait for a chance to draw back in. The experiment to bring him in and hope a change of scenery and increased opportunity would bring better results has seemingly failed to generate much. Yes, being scratched as much as he has lately doesn’t help but if you can’t get into this lineup, that’s on you.
On the back end, the pairings also remained the same with Mike Green partnering with Patrik Nemeth, Bowey with Hronek, and Lashoff holding down the bottom pairing with Biega. This group definitely exposes what’s already a glaring weakness for this team but they’ll have to make do with what they have. It’ll be interesting to see if after a particularly tough loss or another injury, does Dennis Cholowski get another opportunity? Although he hasn’t set the world on fire by any means with his play in Grand Rapids.
The Wings opponent tonight, the Sabres, are reeling having lost 9 of 12 and giving up 11 goals in their last two contests. Buffalo once looked to be a surprise playoff team but those hopes are fading quickly as they have sunk to a tie for 5th in the division and are seven points out of a wildcard spot. Despite the team’s struggles Jack Eichel is doing his best to will his team to relevance riding a six game point streak coming into this game. The Sabres will be playing the second of a back to back after hosting and losing to Vancouver last night. Carter Hutton got the start in that game so expect to see Linus Ullmark get the start today. But keep an eye on the Game Day Updates post later today. Ullmark has had a fairly mediocre season so far posting a 13-12-3 record with a 2.87 GAA and .910 SV%. Serviceable numbers but nothing world beating.
The Wings look to make it three wins in a row tonight, which would be a big milestone this season. If they can steer clear of allowing Eichel to be a difference maker, and get goal support of any kind from the bottom nine up front they’ll have a good chance to hit the mark.