Preview: Sabres at Red Wings
Despite a franchise record-tying 10-game winning streak in November, it has been another lost campaign for the Buffalo Sabres, who now own the NHL's longest active playoff drought at eight seasons. The Sabres will try to post back-to-back wins for the first time since Dec. 11-13 when they end the regular season at the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday night.
The Sabres snapped an eight-game slide (0-7-1) with a 5-2 victory over league-worst Ottawa on Thursday in their home finale, which marked only their 15th win in 56 games (15-33-8) since the 10-game run. "This game was really important for us," coach Phil Housley said. "To finish off the right way, not only for the group, but more importantly, for our fans. It's been tough." The Red Wings missed the postseason for the third straight year but had won six in a row and eight of nine before Thursday's 4-1 loss at Pittsburgh in the back end of a home-and-home. Detroit has lost two of three to the Sabres this season but squeezed out a 5-4 overtime victory at Buffalo on March 28.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, MSG-Buffalo, FS Detroit
ABOUT THE SABRES (32-39-10): Jason Pominville, scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent, could have played his final home game with the franchise and capped the scoring to end a 12-game goal drought. Pominville, 36, who played in his 1,000th career game earlier this season, has scored 217 of his 293 goals with Buffalo. "He's been a steady influence for everyone, through all the ups and downs," captain Jack Eichel said. "He's somebody who just goes about his business every day. We can learn a lot from him and the type of professional he is."
ABOUT THE RED WINGS (32-39-10): Detroit's lone goal Thursday came from an unlikely source as forward Matt Puempel, playing in his seventh game of the season, scored for the first time since January 2017, when he was with the New York Rangers. "When you get your first with a specific team, it's nice to get it out of the way," Puempel said. "Everyone's having fun. I think that's important when you're playing this game." Anthony Mantha has seven goals and 14 points in the last seven games and five points in three meetings versus the Sabres this season.
1. Eichel had a goal and two assists Thursday to reach 80 points for the first time.
2. Red Wings leading scorer Dylan Larkin has four goals in three games versus Buffalo this season.
3. Sabres F Jeff Skinner, who scored a career-best 38 goals, scored once and had an assist in three meetings versus Detroit.
PREDICTION: Red Wings 4, Sabres 2