The Detroit Red Wings (9-9-3) play the Atlantic Division-rival Buffalo Sabres (7-10-2) at Little Caesars Arena Saturday at 7 p.m. The Red Wings are 19th in the overall NHL standings and the Sabres are 25th.
Here are 10 reasons why the Red Wings will win:
- The Sabres have lost five of their last six games and are 2-9-1 in their last 12.
- Detroit beat the Sabres 4-3 in Buffalo on Nov. 6. Rookie defenseman Moritz Seider scored the game-winner for his first NHL goal.
- Coach Don Granato’s Sabres play the night before at home against Montreal. Meanwhile, the Red Wings are well-rested. They have only played two games in the past week. Players have been given multiple days off this week.
- The Red Wings have played significantly better at home (6-2-2) this season than on the road. Meanwhile, the Sabres have struggled on the road (2-5-1).
- Dylan Larkin is playing some of the best hockey of his career. Last season, even before his injury, he played more like a third-line player than a first-line performer. This season, he is playing determined, forceful and fiery. His 10 goals in 17 games this season is more than he scored all of last season in 44 games. Larkin has seven goals in his past eight games. He also has nine points during his six-game point-scoring streak.
- GM Steve Yzerman’s Detroit team is farther along in their rebuild. Their best young players (Lucas Raymond and Seider) are already top players on the team. Their 25-year-old goalie Alex Nedeljkovic is playing well for them. Buffalo’s best young players — Owen Power, Peyton Krebs and Jack Quinn — haven’t yet arrived.
- Detroit’s penalty killing unit seems to have come together. The Red Wings have only given up one power play goal in their last 22 penalty-kill efforts.
- Buffalo gives up goals by the bushel. In their four-game losing streak, the Sabres have given up 22 goals. That’s 5.5 goals per game. The Sabres have surrendered five or more eight times in the past 11 games.