Buffalo Sabres (23-23-7) vs. Detroit Red Wings (12-38-4)
Puck Drop: 7:00 PM EST | KeyBank Center | Buffalo, NY
Radio: WGR 550
SB Nation Red Wings Blog: Wingin’ It in Motown
Know Your Opponent
Detroit Red Wings
Last 10: 1-8-1
Division Ranking: 8th in Atlantic Division
Conference Ranking: 16th in Eastern Conference
PP: 30th (14.5%)
PK: 31st (73.2%)
What to Watch
1. Please... Just Win This One
Yes, the Sabres have been struggling. Fan frustration is high... and Thursday’s game might be a must-win for the team. After all, if you can’t beat the worst team in the league, who has just 28 points to your 53, is one of the worst in the league on both power-play and penalty kill, has a minus-96 goal differential and is on a six-game losing streak.... what can you do?
After Tuesday’s pitiful showcase against the Colorado Avalanche, which pushed many fans to leave KeyBank Center early, and many who stuck around to boo the team, Thursday’s game is critical in regards to the pulse of this organization.
2. Goaltending Duo
Carter Hutton was relieved by Jonas Johansson in Tuesday’s game against the Avalanche. Johansson made his NHL debut, and it seems likely that he’ll get a little more playing time as we move forward, given the Sabres’ packed schedule.
3. Injury Updates
The Sabres are still dealing with a multitude of injuries. Rasmus Dahlin remains day-to-day but did not practice with the team on Wednesday. Johan Larsson is also day-to-day, while Curtis Lazar (illness) is the same. Kyle Okposo, Victor Olofsson and Linus Ullmark are all considered week-to-week.
Vladimir Sobotka and Tage Thompson are, of course, still out indefinitely.
4. The Rochester Shuffle
The shuffle of players to and from the Rochester Americans continues, as the Sabres sent Jean-Sebastian Dea back to Rochester on Wednesday. They recalled Scott Wilson in his place.
Sure, why not.
Jimmy Vesey - Jack Eichel - Sam Reinhart
Jeff Skinner - Evan Rodrigues - Rasmus Asplund
Conor Sheary - Marcus Johansson - Michael Frolik
Zemgus Girgensons - Johan Larsson - Scott Wilson
Brandon Montour - Rasmus Ristolainen
Jake McCabe - Henri Jokiharju
Lawrence Pilut - Colin Miller
Starting Goaltender: Jonas Johansson (first NHL start)
Detroit Red Wings
Darren Helm - Dylan Larkin - Robby Fabbri
Tyler Bertuzzi - Valtteri Filppula - Justin Abdelkader
Taro Hirose - Luke Glendening - Andreas Athanasiou
Givani Smith - Christoffer Ehn - Adam Erne/Brendan Perlini
Patrik Nemeth - Alex Biega
Dennis Cholowski - Filip Hronek
Trevor Daley - Gustav Lindstrom (NHL debut)
Jonathan Ericsson - Madison Bowey
Starting Goaltender: Jonathan Bernier (expected)