Game Day Preview: Leapfrog

Happy Wednesday, Hockeytown! Not only is it Wednesday but it’s also Thanksgiving Eve and your Detroit Red Wings are taking on Brian Gionta and the Buffalo Sabres at the KeyBank Center before heading home for the holiday.

Tonight’s game is a crucial one for the Wings. On Monday, Buffalo defeated the Calgary Flames earning two points and leapfrogging themselves over Detroit in the Atlantic Division standings. Detroit now stands in the 8th and final spot of the division with 17 points while Buffalo stands in 7th with one point more. Tonight, the Wings will look to gain two points in Buffalo to put them back into 7th place to hopefully jump start their race back up in the standings. The two teams seem to be playing a bit of a game of leapfrog at the moment while going back and forth between 7th and 8th place.

Red Wings (8-10-1):

The Wings are coming off of their fourth straight loss that added to their total of six loses in their last eight games. On Sunday, the team lost to the Calgary Flames, 3-2. Scoring for the Wings were Tomas Tatar (3) and Anthony Mantha (1). Detroit fell in shots on goal for the game, 23-26 and the only star of the game for Detroit was Jonathan Ericsson who ended the night with a +1 rating and had one of the highest TOI with 21:17. Jimmy Howard played well in net but had very poor support from his defense. His SV% is a .940 through 10 games. Tonight Blashill is looking to return Dylan Larkin to center in between Thomas Vanek and Gustav Nyquist on the top line. Vanek scored 8 points in 7 games before being sat out with injury. Unfortunatly, he was not able to score any points in his return to the lineup on Sunday night.

The official lineup has not been released yet considering there was no official morning skate for the team but Jimmy Howard will get the start and it looks as though Brendan Smith will be in for the injured Alexy Marchenko and Tyler Bertuzzi will take Drew Miller’s spot on the fourth line.

Sabres (7-8-4):

Buffalo is coming off of their Monday night win against the Calgary Flames, the same team that Detroit lost to the night prior. Scoring for the Sabres were Moulson (7), Foligno (4), and Larsson (3). Kyle Okposo had a two point night for the guys in blue and white with a goal and an assist. In net for the Sabres was Robin Lehner who has a .920 SV% through 14 games played, he will also start between the pipes tonight. The Sabres victory was their second straight and the two points jumped them one point ahead of the Wings.

Ryan O’Reilly who has missed 6 of the team’s last 7 games with an oblique injury will return to the top line in tonight’s tilt.

Forwards-

  • Moulson – R. O’Reilly – Okposo
  • Girgensons – Reinhart – Kane
  • Foligno – Larsson – Gionta
  • Carrier – C. O’Reilly – Grant

Defense-

  • Gorges – Ristolainen
  • McCabe – Franson
  • Falk – Fedun

Goalies-

  • Lehner
  • Nilsson

Matchup Continued:

This is the first of four games between the Sabres and the Red Wings. Buffalo will play one in Detroit and then one more at home before closing the season with their last game at Joe Louis Arena on March 20th, 2017. Overall, the Red Wings hold a 20-35-8 record when playing Buffalo on the road. Whichever of the two teams can take the points tonight will be the team that ends up in the 7th spot in the Atlantic

The game will be broadcasted on Fox Sports Detroit and on 97.1 The Ticket with puck drop at 7:00 sharp. You can also follow the Detroit Red Wings on Twitter (@DetroitRedWIngs) for updates throughout the game.

This article is dedicated to Cameron for being a great friend and making me laugh while writing such a depressing preview of our team.

 

Buffalo’s lineup was found on their official Twitter: @BuffaloSabres

Buffalo vs. Detroit Stats: http://www.detroithockey.net/history/team-by-team-record/buffalo-sabres.php

Detroit’s 2016-17 Stats: http://www.espn.com/nhl/team/schedule/_/name/det/detroit-red-wings

Photo Credit: http://redwings.ice.nhl.com/club/gallery.htm?id=58757

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