GAME PREVIEW: Red Wings @ Sabres (Friday, December 2, 2011)

By johnmiller

The Buffalo Sabres (13-10-1) have had a few days to lick their wounds after a particularly disheartening loss to the New York Islanders on Tuesday night. The Detroit Red Wings (15-7-1) come into Buffalo on Friday night to offer a true test for the Sabres. The injury bug has been tough for the Sabres to get through, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

For the Sabres, Mike Weber, Tyler Myers and Brad Boyes are all out indefinitely. Cody McCormick, Patrick Kaleta, and Jordan Leopold are listed as day-to-day for Buffalo.

Patrick Eaves and Jan Mursak are out indefinitely for the Red Wings.

Jhonas Enroth will start in goal once again for the Sabres. Jimmy Howard is expected to draw the start between the pipes for the Red Wings.

Good news for the Sabres. Tyler Ennis and Ryan Miller are both set to return from injuries. Ennis is expected to play against the Red Wings while Miller backs up Enroth. If all goes well, Miller should be ready to start the Sabres next game against Nashville on Saturday.

The Sabres have played to the level of their competition this season, for better or worse. Against the Red Wings, they’re going to have to elevate their game to the highest of levels to win on Friday night. The Red Wings have won their last five games and they’ve won five of their last six games against the Sabres.

Conversely, the Sabres have lost four of their last five games overall and they’ve also lost four of their last five games at home. So it wouldn’t appear that the stars are aligning for the Sabres tonight. But that’s typically when Buffalo has played their best hockey. This is a team that dominated the defending world champion Boston Bruins. Sure it only lasted for one period. But the ability to play at that level is there. The real problem is the drop-off in performance when playing lower level teams such as Columbus and the Islanders.

The Sabres (+115) are a home underdog on Friday night. Despite their lack of success (6-7-1) at home, the Sabres have typically been favored. The odds-makers are predicting a low-scoring game (UNDER 5.5 goals (-120)) and they’ve giving the Sabres a decent chance to win the game.

This game will be televised on the NHL Network. Check you local television provider for details.

Date: Friday, December 2, 2011
Time: 7:30 ET
Location: First Niagara Center in Buffalo, NY

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