PREDATORS (27-28-10) at SABRES (19-37-8)
TV: FS-TN, MSG-B, BELL TV
Last 10: Nashville 3-5-2; Buffalo 4-6-0
Season series: This is the first of two games between the Nashville Predators and Buffalo Sabres. They haven't faced each other since Dec. 3, 2011, when Buffalo forward Tyler Ennis scored the decisive goal in a 3-2 win in Nashville.
Big story: With time running out and points at a premium, the Predators go for their second win in as many nights and try to inch a little closer to a wild-card berth into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Predators: The youngest player on the Nashville roster came through with the biggest goal of the season Monday, as 19-year-old defenseman Seth Jones scored in overtime to lift the Predators to a 4-3 win against the Ottawa Senators. Not only did the win snap a four-game losing streak, it came after the Predators blew a three-goal lead in the third period.
"We've been on a pretty dry spell lately and we've hit a ton of posts and we hit a few more tonight, but it was really nice to get on the board," Jones said.
Even with the victory, Nashville still trails the Dallas Stars by eight points for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. That likely means a steady dose of Pekka Rinne down the stretch now that the Predators' No. 1 goalie is healthy. Rinne won Monday for the first time in four starts since returning, but he's stopped 89 of 95 shots over his past three (.937 save percentage).
Sabres: Even though Buffalo has dropped three of its past four games since coming out of the Olympic break with a three-game winning streak, the Sabres continue to play competitive hockey. Jhonas Enroth made 29 saves as they gave the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks all they could handle in a 2-1 loss Sunday.
Drew Stafford, who scored their lone goal, is wearing the "A" on his jersey again following a flurry of moves at the NHL Trade Deadline. With reports surfacing that interim coach Ted Nolan is close to signing a contract to return, the eight-year veteran spoke about how the team has gradually turned around its fortunes with Nolan behind the bench.
"We've been able to play with a little bit more freedom," Stafford said. "We were given a bigger role and then treated with some respect. Confidence can build off that. I think all the external things aside, basically our heads kind of cleared up and we were able to play."
Who's hot: Predators forward Nick Spaling has goals in two of the past three games. … Sabres forward Cory Conacher, who played four seasons at Canisius College in Buffalo, had an assist and three shots in his debut with the team after being claimed off waivers from the Ottawa Senators.
Injury report: Buffalo defenseman Tyler Myers (leg) missed practice Monday but is expected to be available. Defenseman Alexander Sulzer (lower body) could be back later this week. Forwards Zemgus Girgensons (lower body) and Torrey Mitchell (foot) are likely out another week. Forward Chris Stewart (knee) could miss the remainder of the season, Nolan said Tuesday.
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