After playing their first two games at home, the Sabres now take to a quick road trip to play the Nashville Predators. The Sabres are coming off two hard games in which they out shot their opponent 74-41 but only mustered three goals. Against the Predators, they are going to have to be able to find the back of the net against a Predator team that is scoring 2.50 goals/game in two games.
The Sabres main struggles so far this season are coming on the powerplay in which they are only 2 for 14 this season. Lindy Ruff is attributing that to many of the new guys that are on the powerplay units, Chris Butler and Tyler Myers. With the inexperience of the two guys on the unit plus the units all trying to find a groove on the unit, the powerplay should be able to find the back of the net more often.
The Sabres are also shifting some lines around to try and find more scoring chances. Drew Stafford reunites with Derek Roy and Thomas Vanek while Tim Kennedy shifts down to the Grier and Hecht line. That shifts Gaustad down with Ellis and Kaleta. While I disagree with Gaustad moving down a line, bringing up Stafford with Roy and Vanek should prove to do well nothing. As a line last year they were fairly ineffective and reuniting that chemistry shouldn't change much.
The Predators are going to be without JP Dumont for the second straight game as he is suffering from post concussion symptoms. His replacement, Patric Hornqvist is having a great season with two goals and two assists in two games. Pekka Rinne will be in net for the Predators which will be the second straight backup goaltender the Sabres have faced this season. Rinne looked stout in net in his only other appearance against the Sabres, a 30 save shutout.
Keys to the Game
Sabres: Keep doing what you are doing. This team has been playing a fairly consistent defensive minded game which has garnered three out of a possible four points. Besides only being able to put three goals in net, the Sabres have cleared the lanes for Ryan Miller to see and have forechecked and backchecked really well. If the Sabres continue to play that style of game consistently through the season, they are going to put themselves into a position to win every game.
Predators: Get on the scoreboard early. The Sabres have shown that they can compete in close games they have not been tested by being down by more than one goal. If the Predators can jump out to an early two goal lead, are the Sabres going to react with their same composed game or are they going to start to panic and create more chances for the Predators.