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Sabres Seek Some Luck in Nashvegas

Buffalo looks to rebound against Predators

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

Game 36

Buffalo Sabres (10-19-6) vs. Nashville Predators (24-11-2)

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

TV: MSG-B

Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Predators Blog: On The Forecheck

Know Your Opponent

Nashville Predators

Record: 24-11-32 | 50 PTS

Division Ranking: 1st in Central Division

PP: 4th (27%)

PK: 9th (82.5%)

What to Watch

1. Preds on the Hunt

Nashville has been on an absolute tear in their last 14 games (12-1-1) and have won their last 5 games. Juuse Saros has emerged as a perfect successor to Pekka Rinne’s net by posting a 2.27 GAA and .928 SV%. Not to be outdone, Matt Duchene and Mikael Granlund have returned to form to produce at nearly point-per-game paces. Filip Forsberg may be on the COVID list, but captain Roman Josi is making his yearly case for Norris consideration with 37 points in 35 games. In Nashville’s overtime victory versus Colorado on Tuesday, he notched three assists while skating nearly 30 minutes. The Sabres will have their hands full trying to slow down the Predators’ potent offense.

2. Goalie Shuffle

If Tuesday’s beating at the hands of Tampa Bay wasn’t enough, Sabres fans were dealt another hit below the belt as UPL and Malcolm Subban joined Anderson and Tokarski on the injury report. UPL is week to week with a lower body injury and Subban is month to month with an upper body injury.

This led to Buffalo calling up last year’s feel-good story in Michael Houser and this year’s disappointment in Aaron Dell. As the reported starter, Dell looks to build on the 5-0-0 record he posted in Rochester since being sent down. We can only hope he upgraded his goaltending software and corrected the glitches in his game we saw earlier this season. Against the red hot Preds, A-A-ron will need all the help he can get.

3. Here Goes Nothing

It’s no secret Buffalo has been struggling mightily since their surprising start and tonight is a tough matchup against the Central Division leading Preds. They’re without two of their top three centers and down to their 5th and 6th string goalies. Expectations couldn’t be lower for this group. However, that might work to their advantage. They can play loose and have reinforcements arriving in co-captain Kyle Okposo and relatively new addition Alex Tuch. Look for this team to play with some fire as they try to rebound from Tuesday’s listless loss.

Keep in mind: Buffalo pulled off a surprising 3-2 victory against the Wild the last time they played a top Central Division opponent on the road. It wouldn’t be the craziest thing to happen during an NHL game this week.

Projected Lineups

Buffalo Sabres

Forwards

Skinner - Cozens - Tuch

Asplund - Jankowski - Olofsson

Hinostroza - Girgensons - Okposo

Bjork - Eakin – Hayden

Defense

Dahlin - Jokiharju

Bryson - Pysyk

Hagg – Miller

Starter: Dell

Nashville Predators

Forwards

Cousins - Granlund - Duchane

Tolvanen - Johansen - Kunin

Luff - Sissons - Jeannot

Smith - McCarron – Tomasino

Defense

Josi - Benning

Ekholm - Carrier

Borowiecki – Fabbro

Starter: Saros