Red Wings vs Sabres. The Buffalo Sabres are currently in dead last in the Atlantic Division and have taken a serious look at the possibility of a playoff spot since well before New Year. In fact, they are hands down the worst team in hockey this year. Even if they were to win out, there is no way they could pass the Edmonton Oilers up to avoid the dubious distinction of finishing last in the NHL. They’re playing for nothing but pride. On a positive note, the team expects to have injured players Stewart, Stafford and Foligno back on the ice for tonight’s Sabres vs Red Wings game, according to an NBS Sports report.
The Detroit Red Wings’ situation couldn’t possibly be more different. This game matters to them as they try to stay atop the Western Conference wildcard race and they need to approach this hockey game like a game against any other NHL club. NHL history is replete with examples of mathematically eliminated teams who have played spoiler. The Red Wings will seek to ensure that doesn’t happen in tonight’s Sabres Vs Red Wings matchup.
The injury-plagued Red Wings were recently rejoined by star forward Pavel Datsyuk – whom the Detroit News reports is feeling well after two games with the team. However, the Wings are still missing stars like Henrik Zetterberg and Mikael Samuelsson. To make matters tougher, they will now also have to make do without stalwart contributors Danny DeKeyser and Jonathan Ericsson. Nearly half of Detroit’s current roster started the season in the AHL.
That hasn’t stopped them from making an incredible run to continue the Detroit Red Wings’ storied 22 year string of playoff appearances. The Detroit Red Wings strung together a four game winning streak between a pair of losses to the playoff-bound Montreal Canadiens on March 27 and April 5. Gustav Nyquist has been an absolute terror to opposing goalies, lighting the lamp three times and picking up two assists during that stretch.
If the playoffs were today, Detroit would be in. But, they aren’t. The Red Wings have four more games. Two of them are against teams that are out of playoff contention – tonight’s Red Wings vs Sabres game and Friday’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes. The other two games are against two of the best clubs in the National Hockey League – the Metropolitan Division-leading Pittsburgh Penguins and the Central Division-leading St. Louis Blues.
With eight more points on the table going into tonight’s Sabres vs Red Wings game, the Red Wings hold a razor thin one point lead over the Columbus Blue Jackets in the wildcard standings. Under the league’s new playoff format, each conference will have two wildcard teams. In addition to Columbus, the Red Wings are within striking distance of the Washington Capitals, New Jersey Devils and Toronto Maple Leafs. While their playoff prospects are good, they aren’t written in stone yet. The injury-riddled Wings still need to pick up points to fend off the other playoff hopefuls.
You can watch the Red Wings vs Sabres streaming online live here.