Sabres at Red Wings preview: Depleted Sabres try to spread holiday cheer in Detroit

Between the flu and various injuries, the Sabres are missing quite a few regulars, but their depleted squad will still travel to Detroit to take on the Red Wings.

Game #35

Buffalo Sabres (13-18-3) at
Detroit Red Wings (17-8-9)

Puck Drop: 7:30 pm EST | Joe Louis Arena| Detroit, MI
TV: MSG, Bell TV, FS-D | Radio: WGR 550
SB Nation Red Wings Blog: Winging It In Motown

Three Questions

1. Who will play tonight for Buffalo? Is there anyone left?

The holiday week hasn't been kind to the Sabres as far as their health goes. Matt Moulson and Patrick Kaleta still have the flu. Brian Gionta is questionable thanks to a headshot suffered in the last game, and Marcus Foligno hurt himself sticking up for his captain. All that in addition to the defensive injuries that forced the team to recall Mark Pysyk and Tim Schaller from Rochester for the last game.

Meanwhile, the Sabres did not practice yesterday, to keep those stricken with the flu away from everyone else, so we don't really know as of this writing what the new lines might look like, or who might replace Foligno and Gionta. Keep your browsers updated and your Twitter feeds refreshed today.

2. Can the Sabres solve one of the top special teams units in hockey?

Detroit is one of the top teams in the league when it comes to special teams, ranking #7 and #2 in power play and penalty kill percentage. For comparisons sake, the Sabres rank 30th and 24th, respectively. If the Sabres can somehow come out on top of this matchup, it would go a long way toward beating a division foe.

3. Will the Sabres be able to give their fans any Christmas cheer in their final game before the holidays?

This season has been both naughty and nice for Buffalo fans. The first 15 games were just awful to watch, while the next 15 saw the Sabres beating just about every team that came their way. With one game left until the team goes on a break for Christmas, will the Sabres leave their fans full of holiday spirit, or needing to drink some spirits to dull the pain of another loss?

Projected BUF lines

Stafford - Girgensons - Ennis
Hodgson - Flynn
Deslauriers - Schaller
Larsson - Grigorenko - Stewart

Gorges - Pysyk
Ristolainen - Zadorov
Benoit - Meszaros

Goal: Jhonas Enroth