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.
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