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Sabres at Predators preview: Kulikov returns

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Dmitry Kulikov will play tonight as the Sabres head to Nashville.

NHL: Buffalo Sabres at Nashville Predators Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Game #47

Buffalo Sabres (19-18-9) at Nashville Predators (23-17-7)

Puck drop: 8:00 p.m. EST | Bridgestone Arena | Nashville, TN

TV: MSG, FS-TN, TVAS | Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation’s Predators Blog: On the Forecheck

Two Questions

1. How will Kulikov look in his return?

The Sabres defense is getting a much-needed boost tonight in the return of Kulikov, likely playing in favor of Casey Nelson. Kuli has missed the last 12 games thanks to re-aggravating a lower body injury he suffered in the preseason.

Now, getting him back will be nice for Buffalo, but let’s be honest, Kulikov has been nothing but a disappointment this season. Injuries have surely played a role in keeping him from competing at 100%, but his production levels are next to nil, with just one assist in his 20 games played. Let’s hope tonight is the start of a return to form for Kulikov.

2. Can we maybe not do the overtime thing again tonight?

Buffalo’s last two wins have come in thrilling fashion - overtime victories against the Red Wings and Canadiens - but it would be nice if Sabres fans (and Sabres bloggers) could get to bed early with dreams of a regulation win.

Should the Sabres go to overtime yet again, it would be the first time they’ve done so in three straight games since 2010, and should they win in OT, the first time that’s happened since 2006.

Projected Buffalo Lines

63 Tyler Ennis - 90 Ryan O’Reilly - 21 Kyle Okposo
82 Marcus Foligno - 15 Jack Eichel - 23 Sam Reinhart
Evander Kane - 28 Zemgus Girgensons - 12 Brian Gionta
48 William Carrier - 19 Cal O’Reilly - 26 Matt Moulson

77 Dmitry Kulikov - 55 Rasmus Ristolainen
47 Zach Bogosian - 6 Cody Franson
41 Justin Falk - 38 Taylor Fedun

Goal: 40 Robin Lehner