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Preview: Sabres at Predators

Buffalo defenseman Dmitry Kulikov to return; forward Colin Wilson back in Nashville lineup

by Robby Stanley / Correspondent

SABRES (19-18-9) at PREDATORS (23-17-7)

8 p.m. ET; TVA Sports, MSG-B, FS-TN, NHL.TV


Sabres team scope

Buffalo Sabres defenseman Dmitry Kulikov will return after missing 12 games with a back injury. Kulikov said he has been bothered by the injury since training camp and feels better than he has at any point this season. "Getting back in the lineup is something I've worked for really hard in the past couple weeks," Kulikov said. "It wasn't a fun year for me so far. I think I worked hard this past couple weeks, did everything I could to get myself back in the lineup." Defenseman Jake McCabe will not play against the Nashville Predators because of a shoulder injury sustained in a 3-2 win against the Detroit Red Wings on Friday. There is no timetable for McCabe's return, coach Dan Bylsma said. Forward Kyle Okposo is one point from 400 in his NHL career.


Predators team scope

Forward Colin Wilson is expected to return to the lineup for the Predators after missing eight games with a lower-body injury. The Predators, going for their fourth straight win, went 4-1-0 on a five-game road trip that moved them into third place in the Central Division. "We've been rolling," Wilson said. "Our record on the road wasn't great to start with so to get those wins there are crucial. Obviously you have to keep it rolling. You want to keep winning. We had a bit of a shaky start, some ups and downs, so it's nice to be on a roll and put some good things together." Forward Ryan Johansen has five points (one goal, four assists) in his past two games.


Sabres projected lineup

Tyler Ennis - Ryan O'Reilly - Kyle Okposo

Marcus Foligno - Jack Eichel - Sam Reinhart

Evander Kane - Zemgus Girgensons - Brian Gionta

William Carrier - Cal O'Reilly - Matt Moulson

Dmitry Kulikov - Rasmus Ristolainen

Zach Bogosian - Cody Franson

Justin Falk - Taylor Fedun

Robin Lehner

Anders Nilsson

Scratched: Nicolas Deslauriers, Casey Nelson

Injured: Josh Gorges (hip), Johan Larsson (wrist, elbow), Jake McCabe (shoulder), Cody McCormick (blood clot)


Predators projected lineup

Filip Forsberg - Ryan Johansen - Viktor Arvidsson

Colin Wilson - Mike Fisher - Craig Smith

Calle Jarnkrok - Mike Ribeiro - James Neal

Cody McLeod - Colton Sissons - Austin Watson

Mattias Ekholm - P.K. Subban

Matt Irwin - Ryan Ellis

Anthony Bitetto - Yannick Weber

Juuse Saros

Pekka Rinne

Scratched: Brad Hunt, Derek Grant, Harry Zolnierczyk

Injured: Roman Josi (upper body), Petter Granberg (upper body), Miikka Salomaki (lower body)


Status report

Kulikov did not participate in the morning skate as a precaution. … Lehner will start for the Sabres. … Salomaki and Josi each participated in the morning skate but are not expected to play. … Saros is expected to start for the Predators.


Who's hot

Ryan O'Reilly has 11 points (two goals, nine assists) in his past nine games. … Ellis has five points (three goals, two assists) in a three-game point streak. … Forsberg has four points (three goals, one assist) in a three-game point streak. … Arvidsson has four points (one goal, three assists) in a three-game point streak. 

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