The Buffalo Sabres host the Detroit Red Wings Sunday afternoon at the First Niagara Center, in hopes of breaking their three game losing streak. After defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs in Ted Nolan’s 2013-2014 coaching debut, the Sabres have dropped three straight, including a 4-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday evening.
Buffalo is still looking for a more balanced scoring attack, with a majority of their scoring coming from Cody Hodgson (7 goals, 9 assists) and Matt Moulson (8 goals, 10 assists). Some glaring indications of the need for more scoring throughout the line up could be the fact that the Sabres are last in the league, averaging only 1.7 goals per game, and that Thomas Vanek is still tied for third on the team in scoring. If the scoring deficiencies weren’t enough for the Sabres, the defensive zone is also struggling. Giving up four goals in each of the last three games, Buffalo is now a dismal 26th in the league, giving up an average 3.2 goals per game.
The Detroit Red Wings are dealing with some of their own adversities, going 1-3-5 in their last 9 games. The Wings lost last night, 4-2, against the Ottawa Senators. Their only win in the last 9 games was a 4-3 decision over the Carolina Hurricanes last Thursday. While still remaining in the middle of the pack of the Atlantic Division and only five points behind Boston, head coach Mike Babcock will try to regain his winning ways Sunday afternoon. A familiar face to Sabre fans, long-time Ottawa Senator and now Red Wing, Daniel Alfredsson, could return to the Senators lineup (groin) for the first time since November 12th. Alfredsson is third on the team in scoring (3 goals, 11 assists) in 19 games behind Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk.
Sunday’s meeting is the second of four this year, with the Red Wings taking the first 2-1 on Buffalo’s first game of the season. The puck drop is scheduled for just after 5 PM and can be seen on MSG.
UPDATE: The Red Wings will be without leading goalscorer Pavel Datsyuk tonight, due to a concussion-like symptoms. Datsyuk took an elbow to the head last night against Ottawa, courtesy of Jared Cowen, and did not make the trip to Buffalo. Red Wings GM Ken Holland spoke to MLive.com’s Ansar Khan following Saturday’s game. “After the game he (Datsyuk) felt, I don’t know the word, but he wasn’t quite right,” said Holland. “We’re going through the protocol, see how he feels in the next day or two.”