Preview: Red Wings at Sabres
The Detroit Red Wings have had few high points in what has been an otherwise forgettable season, but they will attempt to build on an impressive victory as they prepare to open a four-game road trip at the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night. The Red Wings on Sunday joined Colorado as the only team with a pair of regulation victories over the Boston Bruins.
"When we're playing good hockey and we get good goaltending, we're going to give anybody a hard challenge," Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said after the 3-1 victory over Atlantic Division-leading Boston. Forward Anthony Mantha is expected to return to the lineup for the Red Wings, who are seeking their second win in six days over the Sabres after snapping a nine-game slide (0-8-1) with a 4-3 shootout win at Buffalo on Thursday. The Sabres continued to fall farther out of playoff contention with Sunday's 3-2 loss to Anaheim, it's sixth defeat in the past eight games (2-5-1). Buffalo, which is sitting in 13th place in the Eastern Conference, does own a seven-game point streak in the series (5-0-2) and had outscored Detroit 14-2 in the three matchups prior to last week's loss.
TIME: 7 p.m. ET. TV: MSG-Buffalo, FS Detroit
ABOUT THE RED WINGS (14-39-4): Mantha appeared on his way to a career season by scoring 12 goals in 25 games before suffering a knee injury that sidelined him for eight games. In his fourth game back from that injury, Mantha sustained a punctured lung when he was slew-footed by Toronto defenseman Jake Muzzin, costing him 20 games. "The first part of the year he was our best offensive player, most dynamic,” Blashill said. "We just have to understand he’s going to have some ups and downs as he comes back to get going at full speed."
ABOUT THE SABRES (24-24-8): Jeff Skinner made a splash in his first season with Buffalo in 2018-19, erupting for a career-high 40 goals, but the tables have turned in dramatic fashion. Skinner, who has scored at least 31 goals three times with Carolina, is mired in a career high-tying 18-game drought. "He’s a streaky scorer. We know that. His career has been streaky," coach Ralph Krueger said of Skinner. "I think if Jeff can get one, he’ll get one, he’ll get many and that’s what we’re all working together to try to get him to do."
1. Red Wings C Dylan Larkin has 10 goals in 20 games against Buffalo after scoring twice last week.
2. Sabres captain Jack Eichel has three points in three meetings this season and 16 points in 18 games versus Detroit.
3. Red Wings F Andreas Athanasiou scored twice in Sunday's win and had the deciding shootout tally versus Buffalo last week.
PREDICTION: Sabres 3, Red Wings 2