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Detroit Red Wings

Five Reasons why the Detroit Red Wings Should Beat the Sabres Twice



Jeff Blashill, Detroit Red Wings coach
Coach Jeff Blashill's Detroit Red Wings have lost six out of their last seven and desperately need to pick up four points with back-to-back wins against the Sabres.

The Detroit Red Wings desperately need a couple of wins to restore their confidence. They’ve lost six of their last seven games to fall seven points behind the Boston Bruins for the final playoff spot. It feels as if they are in danger of seeing their season unravel. They are struggling to score goals. The Red Wings have only produced five in their past four games. They were shutout twice in that span.

Coach Jeff Blashill’s team plays the Buffalo Sabres Saturday and Monday in a home-and-home. Here are five reasons why they should win both of those games:

1.  Red Wings Desperate

The Red Wings know they are at a crossroad after being shut out by the Winnipeg Jets. Captain Dylan Larkin was disappointed by the result to the point that he wasn’t even willing to discuss his selection to the All-Star game.

Not long ago, the Red Wings were sharp enough to stay in the playoff race. Now the Bruins are pulling away from them.

Where is this season going? It’s a fair question. If the Red Wings don’t reignite the offense, the losses could begin to snowball. The season could go downhill in a hurry. If they beat Buffalo twice, they are back above .500. These are important games.

2. Buffalo’s Unhealthy Goalies

The Sabres have four goalies on the injured list. They essentially will use their fifth or sixth best choice in net against the Detroit Red Wings. The Sabres had to sign free agent Michael Houser to a $750,000 contract and recall Aaron Dell from the American League.

The Red Wings likely will start Alex Nedeljkovic, who is 2-0 against Buffalo this season.

3.  Detroit Has Been Better This Season

The Red Wings, despite their recent slump, just dipped below .500 for the first time since November. The Sabres are playing at a .389 winning percentage. Neither team has played well on the road, but the Red Wings are much better at home (12-6-2) than the Sabres (6-11-2). Detroit are a quality faceoff team (50.3%), while the Sabres are the NHL’s second-worst (46.4%) faceoff team. The Sabres lose most important faceoffs.


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4.  Sabres’ Best Prospects Not With the Team

The Red Wings have quality prospects Lucas Raymond, Moritz Seider and Joe Veleno playing and making contributions this season. The Sabres’ top prospect Owen Powers opted to stay at the University of Michigan and the Sabres have chosen to keep premium forward prospects Jack Quinn and Peyton Krebs at their American League affiliate.

5. Detroit 2-0 This Season vs. Buffalo

The Red Wings have already beaten the Sabres once in Detroit and once in Buffalo. Both games went to overtime with Seider and Raymond producing the winning goals.