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Sabres vs Red Wings Game Preview: Criscuolo to make NHL debut

Second meeting of the season between division rivals

NHL: Preseason-Carolina Hurricanes at Buffalo Sabres
Kyle Criscuolo in the preseason
Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Game #19

Buffalo Sabres (5-9-4) vs. Detroit Red Wings (9-8-2)

Puck drop: 7:30 p.m. EST | Little Casesars Arena | Detroit, MI

TV: SN360, MSG-B

Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Red Wings blog: Winging It In Motown

What to Watch

1. Can the Sabres beat the Red Wings again?

The last time the Buffalo Sabres played the Detroit Red Wings, Robin Lehner picked up his first shutout of the season. Tonight, the Sabres will make their first visit to the Little Caesars Arena and Buffalo fans will be hoping the team shows up hot and ready.

2. Kyle Criscuolo makes his Sabres debut

The Rochester Americans top scorer receives his first call-up to the Sabres after being signed in the offseason. Criscuolo has 11 points in 14 games, and makes his NHL debut in Detroit just a year after winning the Calder Cup with Red Wings affiliate Grand Rapids Griffins.

3. Injuries injuries injuries

How much longer before most of the Sabres are actually Amerks call-ups? Casey Nelson joins Criscuolo up in Buffalo. Justin Falk missed practice with a maintenance day and could be replaced by Nelson if he can’t go this evening. Taylor Fedun goes on injured reserve and is expected to miss 6-8 weeks with a lower body injury.

Know Your Opponent

1. Rebuild? What rebuild?

The Red Wings were widely tipped to have a rebuild season, but have pleasantly surprised. It’s still early days but Detroit could be in wildcard contention come the end of the season.

2. Hank lives

Henrik Zetterberg has looked more like his old self this season picking up 12 points so far and regaining his spot as the top line center.

3. What’s the Mantha?

Anthony Mantha leads the Red Wings in scoring this season at a point-per-game pace, looking lethal and playing physical while he’s at it too. The Sabres’ makeshift defense will have a helluva time containing the big winger.

Projected Lines:

9 Evander Kane - 15 Jack Eichel - 23 Sam Reinhart

67 Benoit Pouliot - 90 Ryan O'Reilly - 21 Kyle Okposo

25 Seth Griffith - 22 Johan Larsson - 29 Jason Pominville

28 Zemgus Girgensons - 51 Kyle Criscuolo - 17 Jordan Nolan

6 Marco Scandella - 41 Justin Falk

19 Jake McCabe - 82 Nathan Beaulieu

4 Josh Gorges - 93 Victor Antipin

Starting goalie: 40 Robin Lehner