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Preview: Sabres head to Nashville in last game before All Star break

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Buffalo looks to extend three-game win streak

NHL: Nashville Predators at Buffalo Sabres Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Game 49

Buffalo Sabres (22-19-7) vs. Nashville Predators (21-18-7)

Puck Drop: 8:00 PM EST | Bridgestone Arena | Nashville, TN

TV: MSG-B

Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Predators Blog: On the Forecheck

Know Your Opponent

Nashville Predators

Record: 21-18-7 | 49 PTS

Last 10: 3-6-1

Division Ranking: 6th in Central Division

Conference Ranking: 11th in Western Conference

PP: 25th (16.6%)

PK: 30th (73.1%)

What to Watch

1. Eichel’s Second Point Streak of the Season

Earlier this season, Eichel tied Gilbert Perreault for a franchise high point streak with 18 consecutively played (minus a brief injury) games. While that streak has since been broken, Eichel remains red hot with a new one: nine games. The Sabres captain is tied with fellow superstar David Pastrnak of the Bruins as the only player to record two separate point streaks of at least nine games this season.

The last time the Sabres and Predators met in December, Eichel scored twice to lead his team to a 4-3 victory. Let’s see if history repeats itself tonight.

2. Even Steven

Not only do both teams have an almost identical record and are struggling with some significant injuries, Nashville and Buffalo have also found themselves under new coaches this season. With the recent firing of Peter Laviolette, the Preds are working through a small two-game skid with new head coach John Hynes. The Sabres should look to use this and their own win streak to their advantage.

3. Lazar Making Noticeable Impact

Due to some unfortunate injuries this season, the Sabres have had to call upon some younger players to step up and fill in the lineup gaps. Curtis Lazar has been a breath of fresh air and has tallied points in each of the Sabres’ last three games. He has also provided some grit and intensity on the penalty kill. Lazar currently ranks third on the team in penalty-kill ice time and second in blocked shots for forwards. He’ll be looking to continue his hard work and prove his worth in hopes of becoming a permanent NHL player.

Projected Lineup Based on Practice

Buffalo Sabres

Forwards

Jimmy Vesey - Jack Eichel - Sam Reinhart

Zemgus Girgensons - Johan Larsson - Kyle Okposo

Curtis Lazar - Marcus Johansson - Michael Frolik

Scott Wilson - Evan Rodrigues - Rasmus Asplund

Defense

Lawrence Pilut - Rasmus Ristolainen

Brandon Montour - Henri Jokiharju

Rasmus Dahlin - Jake McCabe

Zach Bogosian

Starting Goaltender: Linus Ullmark

Nashville Predators

Forwards

Calle Jarnkrok - Ryan Johansen - Craig Smith

Filip Forsberg - Matt Duchene - Mikael Granlund

Rocco Grimaldi - Nick Bonino - Viktor Arvidsson

Colin Blackwell - Kyle Turris - Austin Watson

Defense

Roman Josi - Yannick Weber

Mattias Ekholm - Dante Fabbro

Dan Hamhuis - Matt Irwin

Starting Goaltender: Pekka Rinne (unconfirmed)