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Sabres seek redemption against Red Wings

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Loss to last-place rival earlier this month may have been the final nail in the 2019-20 coffin

Detroit Red Wings v Buffalo Sabres Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images

Game 53

Buffalo Sabres (22-22-7) vs. Detroit Red Wings (14-39-4)

Puck Drop: 7:00 PM EST | KeyBank Center | Buffalo, NY

TV: MSG-B

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.

Projected Lineups

Buffalo Sabres

Forwards

Jimmy Vesey - Jack Eichel - Sam Reinhart

Jeff Skinner - Evan Rodrigues - Conor Sheary

Zemgus Girgensons - Johan Larsson - Scott Wilson

Lawrence Pilut - Curtis Lazar - Michael Frolik

Defense

Rasmus Dahlin - Colin Miller

Brandon Montour - Rasmus Ristolainen

Jake McCabe - Henri Jokiharju

Starting Goaltender: Carter Hutton

Detroit Red Wings

Forwards

Luke Glendening - Dylan Larkin - Anthony Mantha

Tyler Bertuzzi - Andreas Athanasiou - Taro Hirose

Adam Erne - Valtteri Filppula - Brendan Perlini

Justin Abdelkader - Christoffer Ehn - Givani Smith

Defense

Filip Hronek - Mike Green

Patrik Nemeth - Alex Biega

Trevor Daley - Gustav Lindstrom

Starting Goaltender: Jonathan Bernier