Mar 30, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Red Wings center David Legwand (left) receives congratulations from teammates after scoring in the second period against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Joe Louis Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Behind Enemy Lines: Detroit Red Wings

The Detroit Red Wings will have arguably one of their best players back on Friday. Pavel Datsyuk is set to return to the lineup when the Red Wings host the Sabres at 7:30 p.m. on Friday. He hasn’t played since February 27 due to inflammation in his knee, but has 33 points in 39 games this season. His return to the lineup could be the spark the Red Wings need to finish their playoff push.

Although the Red Wings are currently in a playoff spot, there’s no guarantee just yet. The team has six games left, including two against the Sabres. If the Red Wings do miss the playoffs, it would be the first time since 1990.

36-26-14; 86 pts
1st in Wild Card

The Red Wings are on a three-game winning streak heading into tonight’s game. Their last loss came on March 27 to the Montreal Canadiens.

Wednesday, the Red Wings beat the Boston Bruins, 3-2. Tomas Tatar, Tomas Jurco and Gustav Nyquist scored for Detroit. Jimmy Howard had 33 saves in the win.

Captain Henrik Zetterberg leads the Red Wings with 48 points on the season, but there are several high-scorers on the team.

Right winger Gustav Nyquist has attracted a lot of attention – he’s got 28 goals and 18 assists for 46 points in 51 games. He is currently on a three-game goal streak and has a goal in 9 of his last 10 games.

Defenseman Niklas Kronwall (46 pts) and right winger Daniel Alfredsson (45 pts) are up there as well.

Datsyuk’s return to the lineup could be a good push for the Red Wings heading into the last few games. The Red Wings were was 8-6-2 without him, and every point could be crucial from here on for the Wings to clinch a playoff spot.

Alfredsson may in the lineup tonight against Buffalo, but it’s uncertain right now as he’s stayed off the ice the past few days. Daniel Cleary, Mikael Samuelsson, Stephen Weiss, Zetterberg and Jonathan Ericsson are all out tonight with injuries.

The Red Wings are 17-12-10 at home this season. They face a three-game road trip after tonight, then split the last two games of the season between home and away.

Detroit has never been an easy team to beat; there’s a reason they’ve made the playoffs for 22 consecutive seasons, and they won’t let that streak die easily. Look for Datsyuk and the Red Wings to come out strong tonight against the Sabres in hopes of inching closer to solidifying a playoff spot.

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Tags: Buffalo Sabres Red Wings

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