The Malik Report
by George Malik on 03/20/17 at 10:47 AM ET
The Red Wings host the Buffalo Sabres this evening (7:30 PM EDT on NBCSN/FSD/97.1 FM), with the Wings hoping to win their third straight game. MLive's Ansar Khan noted that the Sabres have been very good against the Wings of late:
The Red Wings host Buffalo Monday and visit Montreal Tuesday (both games 7:30 p.m. on Fox Sports Detroit).
The Sabres, also out of playoff contention, have won two in a row against the Red Wings for the first time since March 6, 1994 and Nov. 1, 1995. In between, Detroit went 31-3-1-2 (W-L-T-OTL) against Buffalo. The Sabres, 3-8-2 in their past 13, are led by Evander Kane's 25 goals and Jack Eichel's 49 points.
Our friends from Buffalo are coming off a 2-1 shootout win over the Anaheim Ducks; Buffalo has split its past 4 games, and they've recalled two players from the AHL, Casey Nelson and Matt Austin, due to multiple injuries on their blueline.
The Red Wings are coming off a 5-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday, and the Wings recalled Tomas Nosek on Sunday as several Wings are touch-and-go for tonight's game, including Darren Helm (leg), Mitch Callahan (upper-body injury) and Luke Glendening (lower-body injury); the Wings also moved Ryan Sproul to the IR on Sunday.
MLive's Brendan Savage penned a Wings-Sabres preview:
* The Red Wings aren't going to make the playoffs but they could pass a couple of teams during the final two weeks of the season. That includes the Sabres, who are three points ahead of Detroit in the Eastern Conference standings. The Red Wings have two games in hand but Buffalo has a commanding 27-20 advantage in the first-tie breaker, combined regulation and overtime wins.
* Red Wings goaltender Petr Mrazek, who is expected to start tonight, has as 5-2-1 record, 2.76 GAA and .897 save percentage with one shutout in nine career appearances vs. the Sabres. Jimmy Howard is 8-0-1 with a 1.46 GAA and .942 with one shutout in 10 career games against Buffalo.
* Sabres goalie Robin Lehner has a 2-3-1 record, 3.52 GAA and .897 save percentage in seven career games against the Red Wings. Anders Nilsson is 1-0-0 with a 1.86 GAA and .941 save percentage in one game vs. Detroit.
* This is the fourth and final meeting of the season between the Red Wings and Sabres. Detroit has a 1-1-1 record against Buffalo.
Buffalo coach Dan Bylsma shared his take on the Joe's legacy whlie speaking with the Buffalo News's Mike Harrington...
The Sabres are making their last visit to Joe Louis Arena. The Red Wings will move into a new building next season.
“It’s the rink that I was a fan of growing up,” said Bylsma, a Michigan native. “I thought it was the Taj Mahal of all rinks. Now it’s not the Taj Mahal anymore, but it is a place where I played and dreamed of playing.”
And in the catch-up department:
- The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan penned a Sunday notebook about Jimmy Howard's resurgent play since he returned from a knee injury;
- The Free Press's Helene St. James and MLive's Brendan Savage talked about the Wings' power play;
- The Windsor Star's Bob Duff discussed Tomas Tatar's late-season surge;
- And in the PR department, the Red Wings and Huntington Bank have inked a sponsorship deal for Little Caesars Arena.
The Wings hit the ice just before 10:30 AM for their morning skate, per MLive's Ansar Khan...
#RedWings Helm (leg injury) not skating. Callahan is on the ice but not taking part in line rushes.
Looks like Nosek might play tonight. He's centering line with Miller and Glendening. #RedWings
#RedWings lines at skate:
#RedWings defense pairs:
#RedWings power-play units:
Nyquist-Nielsen-Abdelkader (net front), Kronwall-Zetterberg
Tatar-Larkin-Sheahan (net front), Athanasiou-Green
The Red Wings...
DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji...
#RedWings Helm not skating today but Nosek is.
And the Free Press's Helene St. James:
Darren Helm (lower body) out tonight vs Buffalo and Tuesday at Montreal for Red Wings.
The Buffalo News's Mike Harrington also said, "Hello":
After the morning skate, per Khan...
#RedWings Helm out next two games at least.
Nosek in, Callahan out tonight for #RedWings
Callahan said he hurt his shoulder. It's minor and he's available to play. #RedWings
#RedWings Blashill said Helm is day-to-day, didn't rule out possible return on Friday.
#RedWings Mrazek starting tonight vs #Sabres.
#RedWings Callahan said his injury was a shoulder but he's fine and ready to play.
#RedWings Blashill said Helm out today for sure, likely out tomorrow but still possible for Friday.
#RedWings Sproul: “It’s just an ACL. The MRI was hard to see so it’s just a partial tear and a little bit of a bone bruise.”
#RedWings Sproul said he'll rehab more,"try to fix it if I can by myself by working out & if it’s strong enough,I’ll stay away from surgery"
The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan...
Nosek in lineup for Red Wings tonight...
Callahan says he is available to play..very minor injury he says...not in lineup tonight
Mitch Callahan (shoulder) says he should be ready to play in Montreal.
And the Wings:
Coach Blashill said Helm (OUT) is day-to-day. Doesn't expect him tomorrow in Montreal, possible for Friday. #RedWings
Update: Here's an FYI from WILX in Lansing:
Alumni players from MSU hockey and the Detroit Red Wings will square off in East Lansing on Sunday as part of an exhibition charity game. The exhibition hockey game is the vision of Lansing native Kevin Miller, an MSU alumni and retired Red Wings forward.
The money raised will go to the VOA and Cristo Rey.
Tickets are $6 for adults, $3 for youth, and children under 10 years old are free.
The game starts at noon at the Munn Ice Arena in East Lansing on MSU's campus.
Update #2: Among BuffaloSabres.com's Jourdon LaBarber's game notes:
It's a game night for the Buffalo Sabres in Detroit, and we'll have two new faces on the back end.
With Taylor Fedun and Cody Franson both unable to play due to injuries - joining a list of injured defensemen that already included Dmitry Kulikov and Justin Falk - the team recalled Brady Austin and Casey Nelson to join the lineup against the Red Wings.
It will be the final game for the Sabres at Joe Louis Arena, and will be nationally televised on NBCSN with puck drop scheduled for 7:30 p.m. You can hear Dan Dunleavy and Rob Ray on the call on WGR 550.
From the notes
The Sabres won the first five games they played at the Joe, from Feb. 16, 1980 to Dec. 12, 1981. Since then, they haven't won two in a row, which is something they can accomplish with a win tonight. Evander Kane's two goals led the Sabres to victory in their last game in Detroit, on Dec. 28.
Speaking of Ristolainen, he might miss Joe Louis Arena as much as anyone. The defenseman has eight assists in his last eight games against Detroit, including six in his last four at the Joe. Also, here's this from @SabresPR:
Gilbert Perreault is the Sabres' all-time leading scorer at Joe Louis Arena with 14 points (8+6) in 10 games. With a point tonight, Rasmus Ristolainen would tie Danny Gare and Pierre Turgeon for fifth on the franchise list with seven points.
Also from the game notes, here's who's hot on the Sabres:
- Jack Eichel has not gone two games without a point since Jan. 31 and Feb. 2. In the 22 games since,
- Eichel has totaled 28 points (8+20).
- Ryan O'Reilly has recorded nine points (4+5) in his last 10 games.
- Jake McCabe has recorded seven (2+5) of his 18 points in his last 11 games, averaging 21:31 of ice time per game during that stretch.
- Robin Lehner has stopped 95 of 101 shots (.941) in his last three appearances.
Update #3: Here's the Free Press's Helene St. James' game-day article:
The Wings have won their last two games yet remain second-from-the-bottom in the Eastern Conference, at 28-31-12 (64 points). The Sabres, who have played two more games than Detroit, are at 29-31-12 and 70 points.
Petr Mrazek is up in the Wings' goalie rotation.
The Wings don’t have any spare defensemen, so tonight will see Danny DeKeyser, Mike Green, Niklas Kronwall, Nick Jensen, Xavier Ouellet and Robbie Russo.
Up front, Darren Helm is out tonight and Tuesday after appearing to injure his left leg Saturday. Recently called-up Tomas Nosek is available.
The Wings are on a little tear when it comes to scoring, with 10 goals the past two games. Individually over the past two games, Tomas Tatar has three goals and two assists; Dylan Larkin has two goals and an assist; Andreas Athanasiou has three assists; Gustav Nyquist has a goal, a shoot-out goal (which does not count as an individual goal) and an assist; Henrik Zetterberg has a goal and three assists and Green has a goal and two assists.
There are just 12 games left in the regular season.
Update #4: The Sabres hit the ice at 11:28 AM, per the Bufaflo News's Mike Harrington...
WGR 550's Paul Hamilton...
Today is optional. 14 guys are out there
And the Sabres:
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.