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Detroit Red Wings vs. Buffalo Sabres - 10/2/13

Buffalo Sabres (21-21-6) at Detroit Red Wings (24-16-8)

NHL Hockey: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 at 8:00 pm (Joe Louis Arena)

The Line: Detroit Red Wings / Buffalo Sabres --- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds

TV: NBC

The Buffalo Sabres and Detroit Red Wings drop the puck on their 2013-14 seasons as they clash at Joe Louis Arena on Wednesday night.

The Sabres had high hopes heading into a shortened NHL season last year as they had a number of pieces in place that could compete in the Northeast division and possibly for a Stanley Cup. Or so they thought. The Sabres were one of the biggest disappointments last year as they stumbled for the middle stanza of the season and came up short for a playoff bid down the stretch, leading to some key departures and creating more questions heading into this season. Buffalo does have some talent on their roster but they also have some pieces that are likely going to have new homes by season’s end including Thomas Vanek and his massive contract as well as Ryan Miller who was highly critical of his teammates last season and may not have the support from his comrades this year. Buffalo is also without youngster Marcus Foligno who brings a physical presence as well as a scoring threat so the Sabres could be in trouble in the early part of this season until they can get parts of their nucleus back intact.

Detroit Red Wings vs. Buffalo Sabres - 10/2/13

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Wings are a popular pick to win the Eastern Conference this season as they return to a more favourable schedule in terms of travel and time zones by rejoining the East which appeals largely to TV and live audiences and the NHL. Detroit has underachieved each of the past two seasons but have continued to stay relevant and have given themselves a chance by making the postseason only to bow out prematurely. Detroit acquired long time Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson as well as former Panthers forward Stephen Weiss giving the Wings some added offensive potential that already includes Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk. Jimmy Howard is quickly emerging as one of the best goalies in the NHL despite being incredibly underrated and if he can have another strong campaign in the Wings’ crease than they should be able to enjoy a lot of success this season especially at the Joe. The odds aren’t playing into our favour here but the Wings are clearly the better team and I think they come out and make a statement in their first contest of the season by mopping the floor with the Sabres.

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Detroit Red Wings -1.5

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