The Detroit Red Wings will nearly field their ideal lineup tonight when they try to snap a two-game losing streak against the Buffalo Sabres.
Mike Modano and Valtteri Filppula will both be back in action after missing time with injuries. For Modano, it'll be his first contest in 41 games after having a tendon in his wrist sliced by an errant skate back in November. He'll be wearing a specially designed guard on his wrist and will take faceoffs for the Wings.
Filppula went down with a sprained MCL on Feb. 7 after taking a knee-on-knee hit from New York's Brandon Dubinsky. Filppula and Modano will play on a line with Tomas Holmstrom.
As for the Wings as a team, they'll have a tough task trying to get back on the winning path. Detroit scored just once on 39 shots Thursday against Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen and will face silver-medal Olympic hero Ryan Miller in Buffalo tonight. Miller is the Sabres' workhorse in net, posting a 26-18-5 record and a 2.68 goals against average this season. Miller has played in all but nine of the Sabres' 60 games this year.
Detroit will go with Joey MacDonald in net tonight to counter Miller. MacDonald will get his first and possibly last start since winning in Florida against the Panthers last weekend. Goaltender Chris Osgood is close to returning for the Wings, meaning MacDonald's time in Motown is limited.
The Red Wings will be without defenseman Brian Rafalski however, who is out with back spasms. Jakub Kindl will take his spot.
Players To Watch
Mike Modano and Valtteri Filppula, Red Wings—After missing a ton of games, it'll be interesting to see how these two adapt while playing on the same line.
Drew Stafford, Sabres—The Sabres' leader in goals has gone cold, with just one assist in his last four games after recording a pair of hat tricks on Feb. 8 and Feb.13. But, he has a goal and two assists in four career games against the Red Wings.
Detroit—Out: Brian Rafalski (back spasms), Patrick Eaves (groin), Chris Osgood (groin) Probable: Darren Helm (foot)
Buffalo—Out: Derek Roy (torn quadriceps)