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Red Wings at Sabres preview

Mantha expected to return for Detroit after 20-game absence; Buffalo 2-5-1 in past eight

by Heather Engel / Independent Correspondent

RED WINGS (14-39-4) at SABRES (24-24-8)

7 p.m. ET; MSG-B, FS-D, NHL.TV


The Game

Anthony Mantha is expected to return to the lineup for the Detroit Red Wings when they play the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center on Tuesday.

The forward, fourth among Red Wings forwards with 24 points (12 goals, 12 assists) in 29 games, has missed 20 games with a rib injury and a punctured lung. 

Detroit, looking to win consecutive games for the first time since Jan. 7-10, is 2-9-1 in its past 12 games, with one of those wins coming in a shootout at Buffalo on Thursday. The Red Wings are last in the NHL.

The Sabres, 2-5-1 in their past eight games after going 5-2-0 in their previous seven games, are 13 points behind the Philadelphia Flyers for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference.


Players to watch

Red Wings center Dylan Larkin has 15 points (10 goals, five assists) in 20 games against Buffalo.

Sabres center Jack Eichel has 18 points (seven goals, 11 assists) in his past 17 games. 


They said it

"It feels good now. Obviously it's been a long time. That short four-game stint between my two injuries was not close to being enough so I'm excited to get out there tonight and hopefully things go well." -- Red Wings forward Anthony Mantha, who missed eight games with a lower-body injury prior to his rib injury

"You get to this level and you have to have a certain belief in yourself and your abilities and what you can contribute. … When you get into a little bit of a slump like I've been, you've got to try to fight your way out of it." -- Sabres forward Jeff Skinner, who has gone 18 games without a goal


Red Wings projected lineup

Justin Abdelkader -- Dylan Larkin -- Anthony Mantha

Brendan Perlini -- Valtteri Filppula -- Tyler Bertuzzi

Darren Helm -- Luke Glendening -- Andreas Athanasiou

Adam Erne -- Frans Nielsen -- Christoffer Ehn

Patrik Nemeth -- Filip Hronek

Trevor Daley -- Alex Biega

Mike Green -- Gustav Lindstrom

Jonathan Bernier

Jimmy Howard

Scratched: Jonathan Ericsson  

Injured: Robby Fabbri (upper body), Danny DeKeyser (back), Filip Zadina (lower body), Madison Bowey (undisclosed)


Sabres projected lineup

Jimmy Vesey -- Jack Eichel -- Sam Reinhart

Jeff Skinner -- Evan Rodrigues -- Michael Frolik

Marcus Johansson -- Curtis Lazar -- Conor Sheary

Zemgus Girgensons -- Johan Larsson -- Scott Wilson

Brandon Montour -- Rasmus Ristolainen

Rasmus Dahlin -- Colin Miller

Jake McCabe -- Henri Jokiharju

Carter Hutton

Jonas Johansson

Scratched:  Zach Bogosian , Lawrence Pilut

Injured: Kyle Okposo (upper body), Linus Ullmark (lower body), Victor Olofsson (lower body), Tage Thompson (upper body), Vladimir Sobotka (lower body)


Status report

Nielsen was activated from injured reserve after missing five games because of an upper-body injury. He, Helm and Bowey each will be a game-time decision. … Detroit assigned forwards Taro Hirose and Givani Smith to Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League. … Okposo skated with the Sabres for the first time since sustaining an upper-body injury Jan. 30. 


Stat pack

Vesey has four points (two goals, two assists) during a three-game point streak. … Bernier, who has won each of his past two starts, is 5-4-2 with a 2.54 goals-against and .909 save percentage in 12 games against Buffalo.

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