The Buffalo Sabres are hoping their energetic practice on Saturday will translate Sunday evening when they host the Detroit Red Wings at 5 p.m. at First Niagara Center.
Lineup changes from the last game include recalled defenseman Alexander Sulzer pairing with Christian Ehrhoff, Mark Pysyk returning to the blue line and forwards Corey Tropp and Brian Flynn sliding in on the fourth line.
Flynn will center that line with Marcus Foligno on the left and Tropp on the right. Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan hopes that a good practice will translate into positive results.
“We’re going to give those guys a whirl and see what happens,” Nolan said prior to the game. “I think yesterday was probably the first day we almost started getting what we want to do here. It felt good yesterday so hopefully it’ll carry into the game.”
Foligno moves from the first line on Thursday to the fourth against Detroit. Nolan said he wants to see the 22-year-old forward go to the net more and play a more consistent game.
“Marcus is going to be a big power forward, but we gotta to see the power forward come out of him. The last couple games, he was OK,” Nolan said. “With young kids coming in, I tell that to my son all the time you can’t be OK. You have to be better than OK. So hopefully we’ll see a better effort from Marcus tonight.”
Nolan confirmed that defensemen Mike Weber and Jamie McBain will be healthy scratches. Pysyk will skate with Brayden McNabb. Pysyk was a healthy scratch against Philadelphia on Thursday.
“We only have a limited amount of time to see everybody and I mentioned to [Pysyk] it wasn’t because he was playing poorly. I just wanted to see other people in different positions and now I saw it and he’s right back in,” Nolan said.
The Red Wings will be without center Pavel Datsyuk, who was injured Saturday night against the Ottawa Senators. Detroit coach Mike Babcock hopes that Datsyuk will not be out long-term.
“I just texted him and he seems to be doing just fine so we’ll see if he’s available next game,” he said this afternoon.
Babcock said that captain Henrik Zetterberg will play with Johan Franzen and Gustav Nyquist. Daniel Alfredsson will return to the lineup and skate with Justin Abdelkader and Darren Helm. Daniel Cleary will be with Stephen Weiss and Mikael Samuelsson. Drew Miller, Joakim Andersson and Tomas Tatar will make up the fourth line.
Jonas Gustavsson will start in goal for Detroit.
“The bottom line is someone’s gotta grab it there. Grab it and you gotta get yourself on a roll,” Babcock said of his goaltenders. “Confidence is fleeting in the NHL. When you don’t score for awhile, you start guessing. It’s the same in all positions we can be better.”
The game against Detroit marks the first of 10 home games in which the Sabres will wear their new alternate jersey. The jersey was designed by the Sabres’ creative team in collaboration with Reebok. Challenged by Sabres ownership to use gold as the primary jersey color for the first time in team history, the design team looked at jerseys and uniforms from across the full spectrum of professional sports for inspiration.
The result was a two-tone jersey with gold as the primary color on the front and navy blue on the back. This design concept is believed to be a first for the NHL.
A newly designed Buffalo Sabres wordmark appears on the players’ pant leg as well as just below the neckline on the main jersey, right above the Sabres’ traditional crest on the front of the jersey. Additionally, a unique font and number art were designed by Reebok and were inspired by the tips of actual sabers.
The all-new font is used for the jersey numbers as well as players’ names. Captain and alternate captain insignia incorporate crossed sabers as design elements and the patches have been moved from the traditional spot on the chest to the shoulder of the jersey.
26 Matt Moulson – 19 Cody Hodgson – 21 Drew Stafford
63 Tyler Ennis – 23 Ville Leino – 9 Steve Ott
72 Luke Adam – 25 Mikhail Grigorenko – 28 Zemgus Girgensons
82 Marcus Foligno – 65 Brian Flynn – 78 Corey Tropp
10 Christian Ehrhoff – 52 Alexander Sulzer
20 Henrik Tallinder – 57 Tyler Myers
44 Brayden McNabb – 3 Mark Pysyk
30 Ryan Miller
1 Jhonas Enroth
Scratched: 4 Jamie McBain, 6 Mike Weber, 32 John Scott