Matchup: Detroit Red Wings vs. Buffalo Sabres
Venue: First Niagara Center; Buffalo, NY
Time: 5:00 PM EST
Television: Detroit- FSD; Buffalo- MSG Buffalo
It took the Detroit Red Wings (10-7-7, 27 points, 5th place Atlantic Division) seven consecutive losses before they were able to earn two points in a game. On Saturday evening, the Red Wings found themselves on the losing end of a hockey game once again as they fell 4-2 to the Ottawa Senators. The Red Wings will try to get back to winning hockey games consistently when they head to Buffalo to take on the last place Buffalo Sabres (5-18-1, 11 points, 8th place Atlantic Division).
The Red Wings were coming off of a good 4-2 win over the Hurricanes on Thursday night when the Senators visited town. The good feelings would not last long though and the Senators were able to get the first lead of the game in the first. It seemed as if every time the Red Wings battles back to tie the game, the Senators would come back to score their own goal to take the lead once again. The big story of the game for the Red Wings was the lack of conversion on the powerplay. Even though they were able to score two powerplay goals, the let a multitude of long 5 on 3 advantages get past them without any scoring. The penalty kill was also their downfall in the third period as they allowed two Ottawa powerplay goals to seal the 4-2 victory for Ottawa.
Buffalo comes into this evening's game with the worst record in the NHL and a NHL low 11 points. The Sabres are 8 points behind the 15th place team in the Western Conference and appear headed towards the top pick in next years draft. The Sabres come into tonight's game having lost three in a row and five of their past seven overall. The Sabres currently own the NHL's worst goal differential at -33 and have scored an NHL low 43 goals on the season which is good for only 1.67 goals per game, dead last in the NHL. Pick almost any category and you will find the Sabres near the bottom which tells the story of why they are struggling this season. This game has turned into a must win game for the Red Wings, as they are clearly the better team and they need to show up desperate for the two points.
The Red Wings usually do not want to start Howard on back to back nights so we may see Jonas Gustavsson in net for the Red Wings for the second time in three games. Gustavsson has been fairly steady in net for the Red Wings this season, something that Jimmy Howard has been lacking tremendously.
The Red Wings will be without Pavel Datsyk tonight as he did not make the trip to Buffalo with what the team was calling concussion like symptoms after taking an elbow to the head in the third period of last nights game. The move is only precautionary at this point though.
The Sabres are expected to counter with Ryan Miller in net Sunday evening. Miller has had his struggles the past two seasons, but has been the steady goaltender in Buffalo for many years now and always represents a tough task for a Red Wings offense that can go ice cold at times.