The Sabres have really hit the skids lately. They only seem capable of beating teams who are about to fire their head coach – save for the Blue Jackets – and can’t keep their lines together long enough to form any sort of chemistry.
Meanwhile, the juggernaut that is the Detroit Red Wings comes to town sporting a six-game winning streak, a healthy roster and a generally tall task for the Sabres this evening. Buffalo is still struggling with injuries, Big Joe Finley will make his NHL debut this evening in place of Jordan Leopold. On the bright side, Ryan Miller is back in the lineup (he will backup tonight) as are Tyler Ennis and Pat Kaleta.
I’m hoping Ennis remembers where he left his offense for the offseason, because he was fairly useless in the time before his ankle. I would imagine Ennis goes in for Matt Ellis and Kaleta replaces either Zack Kassian or potentially Ville Leino. Obviously much of this will be up in the air until game time.
The bottom line for tonight is that the Sabres need a victory. They have been horrible at home and need to buck the trend. They face a difficult matchup as the Red Wings are healthy, talented and generally difficult to beat. Still, the Sabres need to get back into the left hand column and begin climbing back toward the top of the Eastern Conference.
Joe Finley. The man who spawned a Twitter hashtag for the ages (see line above). I was high on Finley when he was drafted by the Caps. I became an even bigger fan when he blossomed for North Dakota leading up to 2009. Injuries derailed his development over the past two seasons and the Sabres very well may have stumbled onto a diamond in the rough with this guy. He certainly had the potential to be an effective NHL defenseman, injuries have just kept him from reaching that level.
BUF: Jhonas Enroth 15GP 8-4-1, 2.27 GAA, .926 SV%
DET: Ty Conklin 4GP 1-2-0, 3.33 GAA, .880 SV%