Of note regarding the Buffalo Sabres this afternoon:
1. BuffaloSabres.com’s Jourdon LaBarber reports that Sabres coach Phil Housley is wary of the Red Wings’ speed going into tonight’s game:
The Red Wings have lost three of their last four games and sit eight points removed from a wild card berth. Even so, the Sabres know their young core can present problems.
“Through the neutral zone, you have to make sure you get pucks deep because they’re going to try to force turnovers and use their quick strike, use their transition and speed against us,” Sabres coach Phil Housley said. “Any time we get through the neutral zone, [we need to] get it in deep, get on the forecheck and make them play defense.
“In saying that, even in the offensive zone, if they come up with the puck they’re taking off, they’re stretching the play, stretching the ice. We’re well aware of that. If we can control the gaps and not allow them their time and space, it’s going to be important tonight.”
Robin Lehner will be back in net for the Sabres after missing their game against Washington on Monday to rest a lower-body injury. Since joining the Sabres, Lehner is 3-2-1 with a .953 save percentage and a 1.65 goals-against average against the Red Wings.
2. The Buffalo News’s John Vogl spoke with one-time Red Wings forward Scott Wilson regarding his status as a blossoming Buffalo Sabre:
Wilson entered Thursday’s game against Detroit as a regular on the score sheet. He had three goals and five points in the previous six games, solid numbers for a team in dire need of solid performers.
“Scott Wilson has done a terrific job since he’s been part of our team, not only the way he handles himself and the way he approaches the game, but the way he plays it,” coach Phil Housley said in Little Caesars Arena. “He does the right things. He finishes checks. He’s tough to play against, and he’s a really good addition to our team.”
He’s the type of addition who could stick around. Acquired from the Red Wings in December for a fifth-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, Wilson is showing he can handle scoring- and checking-line roles. The 25-year-old will be a restricted free agent this summer with a qualifying offer due of $726,000.It’s easy to envision him becoming a complementary piece of the rebuild. He envisions it, too.“Absolutely,” said Wilson, who spent parts of four seasons in the Penguins’ organization after being drafted by a front office that included Jason Botterill. “Being in Pitt, you kind of see what it takes. With Bottsy being there and everything, you obviously know what needs to be done. Being part of the rebuild is exciting being a little bit of a younger guy.”