Sabres host Red Wings in second to last home game

Main storyline: The Sabres are trudging along with only four games remaining this season. Despite showing signs of promise from their young players, it will not be realized in these last four games. The Sabres have lost an incredible number of players to injury over the course of this season and it continues as they will likely be dressing a franchise record “45th man” depending on who gets the nod at backup for Matt Hackett. Despite wanting to put out an honest effort, they will look to avoid the injury bug which has had the “kick them while they’re down” effect on the team late in this season.

Season series: This is the fourth and final meeting between the two clubs this season. Detroit has taken the first three meetings. Despite seemingly being dominated by the Red Wings, the Sabres have managed to “be in” all of the games, two of which were one goal differences and the third being a two goal difference.

Where they stand: With the recent improvement of Edmonton and Calgary, the Sabres have solidified their place as the 30th team in the league; clinching the highest odds to be picked in the lottery for the first overall draft pick. Despite having struggled with the loss of their top players, Detroit has done what some assumed impossible and have found themselves in a playoff position. They currently hold the first wildcard spot with 88 points. 

Recent performance: The Sabres last played in Philadelphia against a team looking to solidify their playoff spot. Buffalo lost three players in Sunday’s game against the Flyers. Christian Ehrhoff appears to have lost a piece of his ear after taking a puck up high, Nathan Lieuwen will be out the rest of the year with a concussion, Chad Ruhwedel is also out with a concussion. Both Lieuwen and Ruhwedel suffered their concussions as a result of reckless plays by Flyer forward Zac Rinaldo. Rinaldo has been suspended four games by the league as a result of the Ruhwedel incident. 

Buffalo notes: With only four games remaining it appears as if things will not be looking up for the Sabres as they are once against being dominated by the injury bug. The Sabres will likely be without Zenon Konopka and Chris Stewart. Christian Ehrhoff and Tyler Myers are game time decisions while Drew Stafford, Henrik Tallinder, Jhonas Enroth, Michal Neuvirth, Nathan Lieuwen, and Chad Ruhwedel are out indefinitely. 

Red Wings notes: Despite losing some of their stars earlier this season Detroit has managed to battle through it with their youngsters, most notable rookie, Gustav Nyquist. With the return of Pavel Datsyuk and others the Wings look to continue their strong play as they battle four teams for the two wildcard playoff spots.

Conclusion: The Sabres will look to get through this game unscathed as they have quite literally been dropping like flies. The Red Wings should consider this a must-win game if they want to solidify their playoff position as they are in a tight race for one of two wild card spots. 

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