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Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk returns to the lineup for Friday's game against the Buffalo Sabres

UPDATE: Looking for today’s Red Wings Vs Sabres game? This article offered links to the Friday, April 4 game. You can find an article with the preview of and link to today’s game here.

When the Detroit Red Wings and Buffalo Sabres hit the ice ay 7:30 Eastern Standard Time, expect the Red Wings to bring their A-game. Not only is Detroit trying to sew up a wild card spot in the playoffs, but the injury-decimated Wings expect the return of star forward Pavel Datsyuk.

According to the Wings’ Twitter News Feed, Datsyuk, an assistant captain and the indisputable force majeure of Detroit’s offensive firepower, will skate against the Buffalo Sabres.

The Red Wings have been on tear despite being riddled by injuries. Detroit has won their last three games, including games against fellow playoff contender Toronto Maple Leafs and the hottest team in the NHL, the Boston Bruins, with a roster filled largely by players who started the year with their AHL affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins. By far, their hottest call-up has been Swede Gystav Nyquist, who has scored 23 goals in the last 28 games – a feat matches by only two players since the 1989-90 season, according to an APreport.

The Detroit Red Wings are seeking to extend the longest extant streak of playoff appearances of any team in the four major North American sports to 23 years. They currently hold the first of two Eastern Conference wild card spots. With the season close to winding up (the Wings have six games remaining, including tonight’s Red Wings vs. Sabres matchup), the Columbus Blue Jackets trail the Red Wings by 3 points, the Toronto Maple Leafs trail the Wings by 4 and the Washington Capitals trail by 5.

While the Red Wings are fighting off other playoff contenders and getting ready to grow their playoff beards, the Buffalo Sabres are playing for pride and setting up tee times for late April, when the NHL playoffs starts. The Sabres took a step forward this week by inking a longer term deal with interim head coach Ted Nolan and granting the team some stability during the rebuilding process, according to a report in the Wetzel Chronicle.

The Buffalo Sabres come into Buffalo Sabres vs. Detroit Red Wings having just snapped a four game skid by besting the New Jersey Devils in a shootout on April Fools’ Day. Buffalo, long since out of playoff contention, owns the worst record in the NHL, 10 points behind the hapless Edmonton Oilers with seven games remaining on their schedule, including tonight’s Red Wings Vs. Sabres.

You can watch tonight’s Red Wings vs. Sabres game here or here.

[Image courtesy of Shutterstock]

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