Buffalo Sabres (22-22-7) vs. Detroit Red Wings (14-39-4)
Puck Drop: 7:00 PM EST | KeyBank Center | Buffalo, NY
Radio: WGR 550
SB Nation Red Wings Blog: Winging it in Motown
Know Your Opponent
Detroit Red Wings
Record: 14-39-4 | 32 PTS
Last 10: 2-7-1
Division Ranking: 8th in the Atlantic Division
Conference Ranking: 16th in the Eastern Conference
PP: 29th (14.9%)
PK: 27th (74.9%)
What to Watch
1. Detroit the Giant Killer
Well, not really, but the Red Wings are coming off a 3-1 victory over the first-place Boston Bruins on Sunday. With the Sabres in a nosedive, going 2-4-1 following the All-Star break, no game is a “gimme”. That being said, even with the anticipated return of Anthony Mantha to the Detroit lineup tonight, Buffalo cannot lose two consecutive games to a team with a paltry 14 wins on the season.
The playoffs might be out of reach by now, but as is the case with any professional sport, pride is on the line. The players in the locker room probably aren’t too fond of their billing as a league-wide punchline.
2. Hutton’s Back (Yay?)
For as bad as Carter Hutton has been this season, he’s the best option between the pipes right now. While Jonas Johansson certainly earned his shot with the big club, it is very clear that he isn’t ready for NHL action at this time. Sunday’s loss to the Anaheim Ducks was largely due to a brutal first period performance in just his second career start.
Linus Ullmark is expected to sit out until the end of the month, so it’s up to Hutton to hold down the fort until then. A game against the league’s worst scoring offense should be a nice bounce-back opportunity for the veteran netminder.
3. Boost Those Trade Values, Baby!
Sadly, the 2019-20 campaign has become more about what the team will do at the trade deadline instead of calculating playoff probabilities (something Sabres fans are all too familiar with). Though many will argue he value of the expiring assets on the Buffalo ledger, there are a few expiring contracts who could have a market at the deadline.
Fans in Western New York should be rooting for big games from players like Jimmy Vesey and Conor Sheary to hopefully add a little bit of interest in their services. The more assets in the Sabres’ war chest (no matter how small), the better.
Jimmy Vesey - Jack Eichel - Sam Reinhart
Jeff Skinner - Evan Rodrigues - Conor Sheary
Zemgus Girgensons - Johan Larsson - Scott Wilson
Lawrence Pilut - Curtis Lazar - Michael Frolik
Rasmus Dahlin - Colin Miller
Brandon Montour - Rasmus Ristolainen
Jake McCabe - Henri Jokiharju
Starting Goaltender: Carter Hutton
Detroit Red Wings
Luke Glendening - Dylan Larkin - Anthony Mantha
Tyler Bertuzzi - Andreas Athanasiou - Taro Hirose
Adam Erne - Valtteri Filppula - Brendan Perlini
Justin Abdelkader - Christoffer Ehn - Givani Smith
Filip Hronek - Mike Green
Patrik Nemeth - Alex Biega
Trevor Daley - Gustav Lindstrom
Starting Goaltender: Jonathan Bernier