BUFFALO – The Buffalo Sabres and Detroit Red Wings will each be looking to end separate three-game losing streaks when they face each other on Saturday.
The Sabres have lost five of the past six games on top of their past three, and have scored three goals in the past three games.
"From an overall numbers standpoint we do use one defenseman on the power play so it does get diluted a bit in terms of what they do bring," Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said. "If you count one of those forwards as a defenseman and count the power play points, it adds to what our defensemen have brought. It's indicative of our whole team. We're counting on our defensemen to be a part of our five-man offense. In a game like our last one against the New York Islanders, they were a big part of it."
The Sabres will be without Tyler Ennis on a week-to-week basis with an upper-body injury. He was injured Wednesday during the Sabres' 5-2 loss to the Washington Capitals after he was checked by Alex Ovechkin.
"He was just getting up to speed and getting back to the speed of the game and gets injured again," Bylsma said. "It's unfortunate. It feels like he hasn't been able to get to where he needs to be to be effective for our team this year."
Ennis played in four games after he returned from a 12-game absence with a separate upper-body injury. Bylsma said Ennis' current injury is different from the previous injury.
Chad Johnson will start in goal for Buffalo.
The Red Wings will be without forward Tomas Jurco, who sustained an upper-body injury during their 5-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday. Joakim Andersson will replace Jurco in the lineup.
Detroit has lost seven of its past nine games and have slipped back into the Wild Card position in the Eastern Conference playoff standings.
"There [are] miniscule differences between winning and losing; the teams are so close," Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "I don't want this to sound like our guys aren't out there caring, that's not true, but we need an increased compete level. You've got to dig deep and be a little bit above and beyond where we're at. I don't want to disrespect any of our other opponents, the other teams are trying real hard too and they're real good too, the difference is so miniscule; every little puck matters, every little play matters and we've just got to heighten and be a little bit better."
Petr Mrazek will make his second straight start in goal.
Here are the projected lineups:
Justin Abdelkader – Henrik Zetterberg – Dylan Larkin
Darren Helm – Pavel Datsyuk – Brad Richards
Gustav Nyquist – Riley Sheahan – Tomas Tatar
Joakim Andersson – Luke Glendening – Tomas Nosek
Niklas Kronwall – Mike Green
Danny DeKeyser – Jonathan Ericsson
Brendan Smith – Alexey Marchenko
Injured: Tomas Jurco (upper body), Drew Miller (broken jaw), Teemu Pulkkinen (dislocated shoulder), Kyle Quincey (ankle), Johan Franzen (concussion)
Scratched: Jakub Kindl
Jamie McGinn – Ryan O'Reilly – Sam Reinhart
Matt Moulson – Johan Larsson – Evander Kane
Zemgus Girgensons – Jack Eichel – Brian Gionta
Nicolas Deslauriers – David Legwand – Marcus Foligno
Josh Gorges – Rasmus Ristolainen
Jake McCabe – Zach Bogosian
Mike Weber – Cody Franson
Injured: Tyler Ennis (upper body), Mark Pysyk (foot), Robin Lehner (ankle), Cody McCormick (blood clot)
Scratched: Carlo Colaiacovo
Status Update: Bylsma said his lineup would be a game-time decision … Blashill said he will decide on lines after warm-ups.
Who's Hot: Eichel has a two-game assist streak and nine points in the past six games … Kronwall has a two-game assist streak.