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Notes: Red Wings hope to bounce back against Sabres

Sabres had bad loss to Vancouver and won the next game

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji / DetroitRedWings.com

BUFFALO - The Red Wings are hoping that they react just as the Buffalo Sabres did after a terrible loss to the Vancouver Canucks.

The Canucks beat the Sabres, 4-2, on Friday, and on Saturday, the Sabres responded with a 5-4 overtime victory in Boston.

After the loss to the Canucks, the Sabres were very critical of their lack of effort, much like the Wings were after losing 4-1 to the Canucks at home Sunday at Little Caesars Arena.

The Wings play at Buffalo's KeyBank Center tonight and believe that the Sabres are a better team than their 2-5-2 record shows.

"They're a real talented team," Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "They've got some high, high, high-end forwards. Some high picks that have a ton of talent. (Rasmus) Ristolainen is one of the better young D in the league and they've got good goaltending.

"It's like every night in this league. Every night is an absolute challenge and you've got to play your best hockey just to give yourself a chance to win. You can play great hockey and lose. That's the reality of the league. That's how tight it is. But we're going to have to make sure we're playing our best hockey."

The Sabres already have three players who have 11 points in the first nine games.

Jack Eichel has four goals and seven assists, Evander Kane has six goals and five assists and Jason Pominville has five goals and six assists.

Only Mike Green, with one goal and 10 assists, has double-digit points for the Red Wings.

Eichel has four goals and three assists in his last six games against the Wings while Ristolainen has nine assists in his last nine games against them.

The Sabres also come into the game having won three straight against the Wings.

Kyle Okposo, who is on the top line with Eichel and Kane, knows what has been missing from his team.

"We just got to work," Okposo said. "I think our work ethic has been very spotty this year. It hasn't been at a high level that it needs to be and that's very easily correctable. Just simple, you just got to work and we got to be better. I think that's the first thing that needs to be corrected."

Okposo, who played with Frans Nielsen with the New York Islanders, was looking forward to catching up with his friend.

"I didn't get to see Fransy yesterday," Okposo said. "I talked to him a little bit. But I'll see him today for sure."

FRK LOOKING TO GET GOING AGAIN: After scoring three goals in Detroit's first four games, Martin Frk has gone the last five games without a goal and the last eight without an assist.

"I knew it was going to happen when I had the good start," Frk said. "I thought, 'This is way too good. You will have some stretch when you don't have anything.' You just gotta go understand that and still play your game, trying not to change it up. The points will come. Overall, I just want to be good on both sides of the ice and help the team win."

Frk was initially on a line with Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha to start the season.

"Frky certainly played good early," Blashill said. "I don't necessarily think it was just line-based. He was real confident early and we got to get his confidence back up to that same level here. He's a real good player, and he's just got to make sure he plays at that level."

Blashill said he has spoken to Frk and reiterated that he believes in the young forward.

"He belongs here. He's an NHL player," Blashill said. "He's got an NHL weapon in his shot. Go play without fear. Really that's a message to our whole team. You gotta play without fear. You gotta play smart but you gotta play without fear and certainly Frk is one of those guys."

Although teams are definitely changing how they play Frk on the power play, he said it isn't as noticeable 5-on-5.

"Just trying to do the same. I'm not trying to change anything," Frk said. "Confidence you must always have. If you want to play in this league, you must have confidence. No matter if you're not scoring, I still have the same confidence that I had at the start of the season. That doesn't change. The teams will realize it and they maybe play a little harder on me but you just gotta go find a way to still shoot the puck."

Frk is now on a line with Frans Nielsen and Darren Helm.

"They're good hockey players," Frk said. "We just gotta get the chemistry together. I thought we played good last game. We had a couple of chances. It's taking us a little bit longer but I think we can be a really good line."

WILSON ADJUSTING: It's never easy getting traded, especially once the season has already started, but Scott Wilson is adjusting.

"When there's talk about it, you're kind of thinking about it," Wilson said. "But when it actually happens, it's a little whirlwind, it's a little bit different. I think knowing Dalesie (Trevor Daley) here really helped out. I know some guys go to teams, they don't know anybody. But the guys have been awesome here, they've given me a warm welcome."

Wilson said he hasn't discussed his first career goal yet, which came against Petr Mrazek on Feb. 18, 2016.

"No, I haven't talked to him about it yet," Wilson said. "I'm sure it'll come up at some point but I haven't mentioned it yet."

Wilson said it was a good thing that he joined the team right before a road trip so he has some time to get to know everyone.

Now he just needs to learn Little Caesars Arena when they get back to Detroit.

"It's actually unbelievable," Wilson said. "Even yesterday after being in there for a day, I got lost a little bit for a couple minutes, just kind of wandering around. But that's obviously the type of organization they have here, they kind of do everything first class."

DEKEYSER POSSIBLE FOR TAMPA: Defenseman Danny DeKeyser has been skating regularly with the team for a while and could get in a game soon.

"He's getting real close," Blashill said. "He's not going to play tonight but he's getting real close. I'm hoping to have him on Thursday."

The Wings play in Tampa on Thursday.

LINEUPS: Blashill said Jimmy Howard, the New York native, would start against the Sabres.

Howard is 8-0-1 with a 1.46 goals-against average and .942 save percentage in 10 career games against the Sabres.

Lines in morning skate:

Gustav Nyquist-Henrik Zetterberg-Mantha

Tomas Tatar-Larkin-Justin Abdelkader

Frk-Nielsen-Helm

David Booth/Luke Witkowski-Luke Glendening-Wilson

Defense pairs:

Jonathan Ericsson-Daley

Niklas Kronwall-Green

Xavier Ouellet-Nick Jensen

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