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Preview: Predators at Sabres

Nashville goes for fourth straight win; Linus Ullmark makes season debut for Buffalo

by Joe Yerdon / NHL.com Correspondent

PREDATORS (31-22-9) at SABRES (26-26-10)

7 p.m. ET; MSG-B, FS-TN, NHL.TV

 

Predators team scope

The Nashville Predators will look to extend their winning streak to a season-high four games. They have had five three-game winning streaks. Nashville is four points ahead of the St. Louis Blues for third place in the Central Division and has scored 41 goals in its past 10 games. Filip Forsberg was named the NHL First Star of the Week on Monday after he scored eight goals in four games. "Certainly Filip got recognized, but the line's been good; our back end's been good," coach Peter Laviolette said. "It's still an important way and an important factor to winning hockey games; not only good defense, but being on the attack and scoring goals. Most of the teams on top of the league have a high goals-for number as well. Being able to score gives you an opportunity to win." Forsberg has played with Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson. Arvidsson has 12 points (eight goals, four assists) in the past 10 games. "For us of late, they've been obviously a huge part of our success lately in terms of our production," defenseman P.K. Subban said. "But I'm not surprised; with the skill level on that line, a lot of teams would drool to have those three players on their team." Pekka Rinne will start in goal.

 

Sabres team scope

Buffal Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said his lineup would be a game-time decision, but Linus Ullmark was the first goalie off the ice after the morning skate and will start. "Linus has been very good in Rochester (of the American Hockey League), played extremely well; I think without a question their best player down there this year," Bylsma said. "He's done it facing a lot of shots in tough situations, so he's been very good, kind of proving how good a goaltender he is." Ullmark is 20-20-2 for Rochester with a .910 save percentage and was selected for the AHL All-Star Game. He played 20 games for the Sabres last season. 'We'll see about tonight," Ullmark said. "This is going to be great to be back in [Buffalo]… I just hope that we can turn this around." The Sabres try to end a three-game losing streak. They are seven points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the the Eastern Conference. Goalie Robin Lehner missed the game Sunday against the Arizona Coyotes with an upper-body injury; he skated Tuesday but will not dress. "I got cleared a little late this morning so I was a little late on practice, but I feel good," Lehner said. "No symptoms in my head anymore… I got some small symptoms but it was all neck related and I passed all my testing so I'm happy it was nothing bad."

 

Predators projected lineup

Filip Forsberg -- Ryan Johansen -- Viktor Arvidsson

Kevin Fiala -- Mike Fisher -- Craig Smith

Colin Wilson -- Calle Jarnkrok -- James Neal

Harry Zolnierczyk -- Vernon Fiddler -- Austin Watson

Roman Josi -- Ryan Ellis

Mattias Ekholm -- P.K. Subban

Matt Irwin -- Yannick Weber

Pekka Rinne

Juuse Saros

Scratched: Colton Sissons, Anthony Bitetto, Brad Hunt

Injured: Cody McLeod (lower body), Miikka Salomaki (lower body)

 

Sabres projected lineup

Justin Bailey -- Ryan O'Reilly -- Kyle Okposo

Evander Kane -- Jack Eichel -- Brian Gionta

Marcus Foligno -- Evan Rodrigues -- Sam Reinhart

Tyler Ennis -- Zemgus Girgensons -- Matt Moulson

Jake McCabe -- Rasmus Ristolainen

Dmitry Kulikov -- Zach Bogosian

Josh Gorges -- Cody Franson

Linus Ullmark

Anders Nilsson

Scratched: Justin Falk, Nicolas Deslauriers

Injured: Robin Lehner (upper body), William Carrier (knee), Johan Larsson (wrist)

 

Status report

Neal moved to the third line during the morning skate. He had three assists against the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday, when he played on the fourth line. … Nilsson likely will back up Ullmark after starting Sunday.

 

Who's hot

Forsberg has 11 point (eight goals, three assists) during a five-game point streak. Subban has 12 points (one goal, 11 assists) in his past nine games. Josi has eight points (two goals, six assists) in his past five games. Arvidsson has five points (three goals, two assists) in his past four games. Johansen has seven assists in his past four games. … Eichel has seven points (one goal, six assists) during a six-game point streak and 13 points (two goals, 11 assists) in his past 10 games. Rodrigues has scored a goal in back-to-back games.

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