Apr 4, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Buffalo Sabres left wing Johan Larsson (22) and Buffalo Sabres left wing Nicolas Deslauriers (44) celebrate a goal by Nicolas Deslauriers in the third period on Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard (35) at Joe Louis Arena. Detroit won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo Sabres PreGame Skate #79: Detroit Red Wings

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Just four games remain in the Buffalo Sabres 2013-2014 season, starting with tonight’s matchup against the Detroit Red Wings. Tonight’s game is the second-to-last home game for the Sabres, who will look to break out of a three-game losing streak.

Opponent: Detroit Red Wings
Record: 37-27-14 (88 points)
Position: 1st, Wild Card

The Sabres are halfway through their April schedule. They won the first game of the month, a 3-2 shootout win over New Jersey, but haven’t won since. The Sabres are coming off a 5-2 loss in Philadelphia on Sunday.

The Red Wings are currently in the top spot of the Wild Card, but haven’t quite secured a playoff spot yet. They’re coming off a 5-3 loss to Montreal on Saturday, and every point is crucial in their last four games.

SABRES: CONSISTENT IN……. INJURIES

If there’s one thing that’s been consistent in the Sabres lineup lately, it’s been this: injuries, injuries and………. more injuries.

Here’s the current injury list for the Sabres:

Add to that list: defenseman Chad Ruhwedel and goaltender Nathan Lieuwen. Both suffered concussions in Sunday’s game against Philadelphia. Christian Ehrhoff  suffered an ear injury on Sunday and required stitches to close a large gash but is expected to play tonight.

Mike Weber, who scored his first goal of the season on Sunday, has been playing, but isn’t at 100% health. Weber will play tonight.

I think this is the point where I beg and plead the hockey gods to please just end this season already. The Sabres have already lost so many players to injury……. MAKE IT STOP! PLEASE!

After all that, defenseman Mark Pysyk has been called up to the Sabres from the AHL’s Rochester Americans for tonight’s game. Foligno and Stewart are expected to return tonight, though Stafford is likely to remain out.

In addition, forward Luke Adam has been sent back to the Amerks.

ONE GOALTENDER, TWO GOALTENDERS, THREE GOALTENDERS…..

And of course, the other story: goaltending.

The Sabres have called up Andrey Makarov to back up Matt Hackett tonight. Makarov will become the eighth man to dress as a goalie for the Sabres this season. Makarov has had an incredible couple weeks; just three weeks ago, he was in the ECHL with the Fort Wayne Komets. Then, he got called up to the AHL, where he’s been solid; now, he’ll backup in the NHL.

Makarov is expected to be sent back to the Amerks in time for Friday’s game against the Toronto Marlies. The Amerks are currently in the AHL playoff race; losing any more players to call-ups could be detrimental to their chances, so here’s to hoping everything works out.

At any rate, the Sabres – or what’s left of them – have to come together to night to face the Red Wings for the fourth and final meeting of the season. Detroit has won all three meetings so far, so let’s see if Buffalo can manage a win tonight despite its depleted roster. Nicholas Deslauriers scored his first NHL goal in the most recent meeting.

Cody Hodgson has five points (3-2) in his last five games, while Tyler Ennis leads the Sabres in goals (21) and points (42). Let’s see if either of them – or both! – can manage to get on the board big-time tonight against the Red Wings.

Game time is at 7 p.m. and tickets are still available for the second-to-last home game of the season.

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