Sabres Host Red Wings on Thursday Night
<em>With<strong> </strong>driving ban lifted, it’s time for some on-ice action.</em>
Buffalo Sabres (16-14-2) vs. Detroit Red Wings (15-11-7)
Puck Drop: 7:00 PM EST, KeyBank Center
Radio: WGR 550
SB Nation Red Wings Blog: Winging It in Motown
Know Your Opponent
Detroit Red Wings
Last Game: 5-4 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins (OT)
Division Ranking: 4th in the Atlantic Division
PP: 20.83% (21st)
PK: 76.53% (21st)
What to Watch
1. Will Buffalo Continue to Dominate Detroit?
The Sabres and Red Wings have a long rivalry going back to the beginning of Buffalo’s NHL franchise in 1970. During that time, the Sabres won 68 games, lost 70 and tied 13. Last season it was all Wings, as Detroit beat Buffalo in all four meetings, including three games that ended in OT.
This year has been very different. The Blue and Gold completely annihilated the Red Wings on Halloween night, beating them 8-3. They followed that up with a 5-4 shootout victory on Nov. 30.
Detroit faces a Sabres team that’s a far cry from the one they played in 2021-22, with a much stronger work ethic and depth on both offense and defense. The Sabres can beat the Wings a third time, if they employ the same aggression, energy and discipline they showed in their last two matchups.
2. Power Plays Again
Thanks to the recent blizzard and the complications that arose from it, Buffalo hasn’t played a game since Dec. 19. The Sabres were hit hard by a recent spate of injuries, but the unplanned hiatus couldn’t have come at a better time.
Not only was goalie Eric Comrie out, but three defenseman, Henri Jokiharju, Jacob Bryson and Owen Power, became hurt recently. While Comrie, Jokiharju and Bryson aren’t cleared to play, Power is on the roster for this game.
Power’s return shores up Buffalo’s depleted defense. After struggling to close out games with an exhausted five-man D lately, No. 25 will make defending Buffalo’s zone much easier.
3. Bet on Buffalo to Win This One
The Sabres are -1 favorites to cover the spread and solid moneyline winners, according to Randy Chambers of PickDawgz.com. The Red Wings lost six of their last eight games, while the Sabes won four in a row. Detroit averages 2.9 goals per game, while Buffalo scores 3.9.
While Detroit won last night in a shootout, Chambers feels that the Wings playing back-to-back matchups doesn’t help them in this situation. The Sabres are rested after a long break and they’re beating up on teams they’re supposed to beat up on. That should continue tonight. Bet the puck line on Buffalo for the best value.
Jeff Skinner – Tage Thompson – Alex Tuch
JJ Peterka – Dylan Cozens – Jack Quinn
Casey Mittelstadt – Tyson Jost – Victor Olofsson
Zemgus Girgensons – Peyton Krebs – Kyle Okposo
Mattias Samuelsson – Rasmus Dahlin
Owen Power – Kale Clague
Lawrence Pilut – Ilya Lyubushkin
Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (likely), Craig Anderson
Detroit Red Wings
Michael Rasmussen - Dylan Larkin - David Perron
Adam Erne – Andrew Copp – Lucas Raymond
Oskar Sundqvist - Pius Suter - Dominik Kubalik
Jonatan Berggren - Joe Veleno - Elmer Soderblom
Ben Chiarot - Moritz Seider
Jake Walman - Filip Hronek
Olli Maatta – Jordan Oesterle
Ville Husso (likely), Alex Nedeljkovic