Photo Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

WGD: GAME 71: Only 12 Games Left

After an embarrassing loss in Colorado last Wednesday, the Red Wings bounced back to beat the Coyotes in Arizona on Thursday (not their best win ever, but a win nonetheless) and then they demolished the Avalanche in the third period of Saturday’s win at Joe Louis Arena.

Tonight they kick off a back-to-back at home against the Buffalo Sabres and will travel to Montreal for the tail-end of the set tomorrow. Tonight will be the fourth and final meeting between the Red Wings and Sabres. Each of the three previous games have been decided by one goal. Detroit is 1-1-1 vs. the Sabres and have averaged just 2.00 goals for per game against a team that has given up an average of 2.96 goals in their other 69 contests.

With a win tonight the Red Wings would move back to .500 on home ice. In the “Farewell to The Joe” season, the Red Wings were certainly hoping for better results in their home barn.

The Red Wings

Detroit Red Wings Lines via DailyFaceoff

The Red Wings will make one change to their lineup from Saturday. Tomas Nosek will draw-in for his season debut as Darren Helm is sidelined with a leg injury. Helm is expected to miss both games of the back-to-back, so look for Nosek to appear in his seventh and eighth career games. The 24-year-old has no NHL points yet, but  is tied for fourth on Grand Rapids (AHL) with 40 points (15G / 25A) in 39 games. He wears No.19 with the Griffins, but that definitely won’t be the case tonight.

Tomas Tatar had two goals and one assist on Saturday, giving him six goals and four assists (10 points) in his last nine games. It’s a case of too little, too late for Tatar and Gustav Nyquist. These two were expected to pace the Red Wings in points this season, but struggled for much of the campaign. Nyquist has three goals and five assists (eight points) in his last seven games.

Tatar has now scored at least 20 goals for three straight seasons and is tied for 38th in the NHL with 89 goals since 2013-14.

The Sabres

Buffalo Sabres Lines via DailyFaceoff

The Sabres have had a tough season and have really struggled recently—they’ve lost 10 of their last 13 games. However, the future remains bright in Buffalo. After missing the start of the season, Jack Eichel has been one of the best players in the NHL since his season debut in late-November. Since that time he has 49 points (20G / 29A) in 51 games—that ranks ninth in the NHL over that span.

One of the keys to their recent struggles has been injuries. They will play tonight in Detroit without Kyle Okposo, Johan Larsson, Cody Franson, Dmitry Kulikov, Justin Falk, Taylor Fedun and Will Carrier. With their blueline especially banged up, Brady Austin will make his NHL debut. Austin was a seventh round pick in 2012 and has just nine points (2G / 7A) in 61 AHL games this season.

Between the Pipes

Petr Mrazek vs. Robin Lehner.

Mrazek surrendered four goals on 26 shots in the shootout win in Arizona last week. He has allowed at least three goals in each of his six March appearances, allowing a combined 21 goals on 175 shots (.880 SV%)—simply not good enough. He also hasn’t play particularly well against the Sabres this season, starting each of their two losses vs. Buffalo (0-1-1) while posting a 3.41 GAA and .881 SV%.

For Lehner, he faces an insane amount of rubber and has had a mostly strong season. He hasn’t been great in March, going 2-4-1 with a 2.99 GAA and .911 SV% in six starts and one relief appearance, but he is 1-0-1 with a strong 1.92 GAA and .940 SV% vs. the Red Wings.

How to Watch

Puck drop is at 7:30 p.m. ET at Joe Louis Arena. You can watch the game on Fox Sports Detroit or NBCSN and if you can’t watch the game you can listen to it on 97.1 FM The Ticket.

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