Detroit Red Wings face off against the Buffalo Sabres

DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 24: Dylan Larkin #71 of the Detroit Red Wings skates along the boards followed by Jack Eichel #9 of the Buffalo Sabres during an NHL game at Little Caesars Arena on November 24, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 24: Dylan Larkin #71 of the Detroit Red Wings skates along the boards followed by Jack Eichel #9 of the Buffalo Sabres during an NHL game at Little Caesars Arena on November 24, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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The Detroit Red Wings’ short-lived winning streak of three games ended on Thursday evening with a fall to the Vegas Golden Knights. The Wings look to get back to winning this afternoon in Buffalo against a division rival.

The All-Star Break was good for the Detroit Red Wings. After getting nine days off, the Wings returned refreshed, reeling off wins against a good Toronto team and a bad Ottawa team. The Vegas Golden Knights cooled that streak with a 4-3 win on Thursday, a game that was decided by the second period. Excepting that period, the Red Wings generally outplayed the Knights, but the three goals on Jimmy Howard during the second were enough to vanquish them.

The Red Wings travel to Buffalo today to face the Sabres. While the matchup favors the home team, it will be a challenging, yet winnable game for Detroit. Both teams find themselves in a rebuilding valley of sorts. The Sabres, however, are a step or two ahead. At 59 points, they are on pace to have their best season since before the 2012 lockout. Like Detroit, Buffalo will probably not make the playoffs, but their improvement this year has been noteworthy.

What are the Red Wings’ bright spots since the return to action? Two players come to mind who have really stepped up in the past week. Thomas Vanek has had a goal and two assists since the All-Star Break. Danny DeKeyser has also seen a lot of ice-time this month, and he has come up with two goals to show for it. This is a good sign, as both players had a comparatively slow first half to the season.

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Meanwhile, Buffalo has some players to watch out for as well. Jeff Skinner, who already has one goal against Howard this season, has had a monster year so far. His 33 goals leads the team by a mile and makes him second in the league (trailing only one Alex Ovechkin). 22 year old, Jack Eichel is coming from his second All-Star Game, and he, too, is having a great season. Between these two top centers, Red Wing defenders will certainly have their hands full.

The location will be an issue this afternoon for the Red Wings. The Sabres are decent on home ice (15-7-4), while the Wings are near the very bottom with only 10 road wins. Luckily, though, the Red Wings have had success in Buffalo in recent years. They will have to withstand a feisty Buffalo crowd if they hope to escape with a win.

Key Stat: In the previous meetup between these two teams—a 3-2 Sabres OT win—Buffalo scored both of their regulation goals on power plays. The penalty kill has been a problem area for the Red Wings all season, and it has not been improving. Less than a month ago, Calgary netted three goals with a man advantage. On the other hand, at least penalty minutes have been dropping of late. Today, the Red Wings need to show better penalty kill or limit the number of penalties taken outright.

Probable Goalies: Jimmy Howard (Detroit) 2.77 GAA | 0.914 SV% and Carter Hutton (Buffalo) 2.86 GAA | 0.909 SV%

Opposing Blog: Sabre Noise

TV/Radio: Fox Sports Detroit, WXYT

Location: KeyBank Center, Buffalo, NY

Time: 1:00 EST

Odds: Buffalo -180

Wings Rumors: Seeking to exchange Gus Nyquist for top picks. dark. Next

Prediction: The Detroit Red Wings will hold their own against the Sabres in a close game. Whether they win or lose, this game may only be decided by one goal. If their below average penalty kill can stifle a subpar Sabres power play unit, the Wings could be on the right side of the game.