Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Season Outlook: Buffalo Sabres vs. Detroit Red Wings

One interesting challenge for the Buffalo Sabres during the 2013-14 NHL season will be the introduction of the Detroit Red Wings not only to the Eastern Conference, but to the same division as the Sabres, as both Detroit and Buffalo will become members of the new Atlantic Division.

The Buffalo Sabres and the Detroit Red Wings face off in Buffalo’s first game of the regular season. They also meet three other times during the regular season as new division rivals, including the final meeting of the year on April 8.

The teams last met on January 16, 2012, when the Red Wings stomped over the Sabres, 5-0. Prior to that, Detroit defeated Buffalo 4-1 on December 2, 2011. The 5-0 victory marked a franchise-record 15 straight wins for the Red Wings and saw nine different players notch at least a point. Nick Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk, Ian White, Todd Bertuzzi and Johan Franzen were each a plus-three; Franzen and Bertuzzi had four shots each.

Buffalo’s lone goal against Detroit during the 2011-2012 season came from Jochen Hecht, assisted by Jason Pominville and Ville Leino.

The Detroit Red Wings finished seventh in the Western Conference last season with 56 points and a record of 24-16-8. Center Pavel Datsyuk led the Red Wings with 15 goals and 34 assists for 49 points in 47 games last season. Left winger Henrik Zetterberg, who had 48 points, led the team in assists (37).

Detroit wasn’t very active by trade this summer, but the team lost Valtteri Filppula to free agency but gained Stephen Weiss and most notably Daniel Alfredsson through the free agent market. The acquisition of Alfredsson, combined with the shift to the Eastern Conference, will make the 2013-14 season an entirely new experience for the Red Wings and their fans, as well as for the teams facing them in this coming year.

Players To Watch:

  • DETROIT: I’ll give you two names to look at for the time beginning: Pavel Datsyuk and the newly-acquired Daniel Alfredsson. In 13 career games against the Sabres, Datsyuk has acquired 14 points (6-8). Alfredsson, who of course is all too familiar with Buffalo, has put up 84 points (42-42) in 89 career games against the Sabres.
  • BUFFALO: One of a handful of players with experience against Detroit is Christian Ehrhoff, who has five goals and 10 assists in 26 games against the Red Wings. Patrick Kaleta has two goals and one asisst in six career games versus Detroit, while Steve Ott has four points (2-2) in 28 games. Drew Stafford and Thomas Vanek have five career points each against the Detroit Red Wings.

Meetings This Season:

  • October 2 @ DET
  • November 24 @ BUF
  • April 4 @ DET
  • APR 8 @ BUF

Tags: Buffalo Sabres Detroit Red Wings

  • PaulR

    Its going to be 4 games of torture for the Sabres.

    • Richard Spalding

      Gotta play the best to be the best, right? :D Ha ha!

  • davidmuscalo

    Alfordson didn’t do too well against last year and the Red Wings are getting old. It showed in the playoffs.

    • Ugslick

      Getting old? They’re getting young. They have a single defenseman who is over 30. Kronwall. The rest of their D is younger. They will become formidable. Howard is turning 30 this season I believe, he’s still in his prime. The Red Wings forward core is relatively old, but Datsyuk and Zetterberg can still produce at a point per game pace while still being two of the toughest players to play against. The rest of their forwards are mostly young, and I would argue that Bertuzzi and Samuelsson might not even have spots on the roster because they can be filled more effectively with younger players. They were getting old in years past, but the transition year (last year) is already over. This team will get better in the next few years.

    • Melissa Kania

      I think it’s hard to use last year as a gauge for anything since it was a shortened season, but Alfredsson had two points in four games against us. While that isn’t spectacular, it’s the best points/game ratio he had against any team in the Northeast Division.