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Tired Red Wings try to get back in win column vs. Sabres

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The Detroit Red Wings find themselves in a familiar and unpleasant spot. They have a losing record.

Detroit started off the season at 4-2-1 but have gone 0-3-1 since, including three regulation losses during a four-game road trip.

The Red Wings will try to salvage the final game of the journey when they visit the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday.

In their last two defeats, they have scored only one goal.

“We just haven’t been able to generate much and (haven’t been) getting much off the rush, either,” defenseman Marc Staal said. “It starts with playing better in our end, and not be tired at the end of a shift and dump it in. Execute better, make better plays to give ourselves a chance to create some offense.”

Detroit recorded only 15 shots on goal in a 5-1 loss at Boston on Thursday. Fatigue may have contributed to the slide, as the Red Wings were one of six NHL teams who played 11 or more games through Thursday.

“We’ve played a lot of games here in a short period of time,” Staal said. “There’s no time to feel sorry for ourselves. You just need to play as a team real well and real hard every night to have success. You can’t do it for 20 or 40 minutes. You do it for the whole game and that’s the recipe for us.”

First-line center Dylan Larkin’s status for this weekend’s games – the Red Wings also play Vegas at home on Sunday – remains uncertain. The team captain has missed the last two games for undisclosed personal reasons.

Team officials have refused to provide more details on Larkin, who has eight points in eight appearances this season.

Buffalo also has cooled off after a hot start. The Sabres return home from a four-game road trip with a three-game losing streak. They were defeated 5-2 by expansion team Seattle on Thursday, getting outscored 3-0 in the third period.

“We just couldn’t get to a simple game,” coach Don Granato said. “Some of it was actual pressure, and when you go back through the film … we’ll be able to pluck a lot out that was perceived pressure. We broke it and we had space to skate or make a play. We didn’t do it.”

Buffalo made a major trade prior to the game. The Sabres acquired forwards Peyton Krebs and Alex Tuch, a top-10 protected pick in the 2022 NHL Draft and a second-round pick in 2023 from Vegas in exchange for former captain Jack Eichel and a third-round pick in 2023.

A 36-goal scorer two years ago, Eichel has played only 21 games since that season due to a neck injury. Eichel disagreed with the organization on how to repair the herniated disc in his neck and the Sabres sought a trading partner.

“We got to a point where this was the offer that we felt was the strongest that we had up to this date, and we felt very good about it,” general manager Kevyn Adams said. “We worked extremely hard for months and months. And we were not going to compromise on what we felt we needed as a return. This was a really important decision for us. So, however long it was going to take, it was going to take.”

–Field Level Media

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