Sabres depart for Detroit desperate to break slump

Team faces must-win against beatable opponent

Game 46

Buffalo Sabres (19-19-7) vs. Detroit Red Wings

Puck Drop: 5:00 PM EST | Little Caesar’s Arena | Detroit, MI


Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Red Wings Blog: Winging it in Motown

Know Your Opponent

Detroit Red Wings

Record: (12-30-3) | 27 PTS

Last 10: 3-7-0

Division Ranking: 8th in Atlantic Division

Conference Ranking: 16th in Eastern Conference

PP: 26th (15.5%)

PK: 29th (73.7%)

What to Watch

1. Break the slump

Two tough back-to-back losses this week has the team outscored 11-4. It’s a familiar drum to beat - can’t score enough, can’t keep the puck out of the this point, put it on a patch and sew it on the shoulder. It’s an emblem the Sabres wear well and wear often. It’s been a while, bit the team is finally playing an opponent who is struggling more than they are. Sure, Detroit has a matching 3-7-0 record in the last 10, and three straight wins at home, but with only 12 wins on the season and scoring fewer than 100 goals through 45 games, the Red Wings are a team Buffalo really should be able to beat.

2. Take advantage

There aren’t many teams in the league right now that are worse than Buffalo is on the penalty kill, and Detroit happens to be one of them. Teams are able to score more than once every four power play tries, and the Red Wings are the second-worst in the league, giving up .8 goals against per game on the penalty kill. The Sabres need to take advantage on the power play. It’s that simple.

3. A time to shine

There are goals to be had against the Red Wings, who are currently giving up 3.77 goals against per game. Players like Evan Rodrigues, who remains pointless on the season, or Michael Frolik, who has a chance for a fresh start, have an opportunity to endear themselves with fans (and coaches) in this matchup. The time has come for them to prove their value.

Projected Lineups

Buffalo Sabres


Jimmy Vesey - Jack Eichel - Sam Reinhart

Michael Frolik - Marcus Johansson - Conor Sheary

Rasmus Asplund - Johan Larsson - Kyle Okposo

Evan Rodrigues - Curtis Lazar - Scott Wilson


Jake McCabe - Rasmus Ristolainen

Rasmus Dahlin - Brandon Montour

Lawrence Pilut - Henri Jokiharju

Starting Goaltender: Linus Ullmark (expected)

Detroit Red Wings


Tyler Bertuzzi - Dylan Larkin - Robby Fabbri

Adam Erne - Valtteri Filipula - Filip Zadina

Frans Neilsen - Luke Glendening - Darren Helm

Givani Smith - Christoffer Ehn - Justin Abdelkader


Patrick Nemeth - Mike Green

Filip Hronek - Madison Bowie

Brian Lashoff - Alex Biega

Starting Goaltender: Jonathan Bernier