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Predators pay rare visit to Buffalo @NHLdotcom
PREDATORS (37-25-10) at SABRES (35-28-8)

TV -- FS-Tennessee (HD); MSG-Buffalo (HD)

Last 10 -- Nashville 6-2-2; Buffalo 6-3-1

Season series -- It's the only meeting of the season between the teams, who haven't seen each other since Buffalo won 1-0 at Nashville on Oct. 10, 2009.

Big story -- The eighth-place teams in their respective conferences get together for a rare meeting in a game each team desperately needs. Nashville moved into eighth place in the West with a 3-1 home win against Detroit on Saturday, a game that ended about an hour after the Sabres blasted Atlanta 8-2 at HSBC Arena.

Team Scope:

Predators -- With injuries taking a toll among the veterans, the Predators have been getting production from their kids as they battle for a playoff spot. On Saturday, rookies Blake Geoffrion and Jonathan Blum scored, with Blum getting the go-ahead goal on a third-period power play.

"Obviously, you hope for that," Nashville captain Shea Weber said of having the kids step up. "You never really know. It's good to see. We've got some great young players. We always draft well, and it's good to see them being so successful early in their career."

Sabres -- The offensively challenged Sabres had a breakout night against the Thrashers, blowing open a 3-2 game with five unanswered goals on the way to their biggest scoring outburst of the season.

"We've been playing some pretty good hockey for a little while, and this team doesn't get frustrated," said center Rob Niedermayer, who scored twice. "We went through some tough times, but I think you kind of needed that to grow as a team. You've just got to be playing good hockey at the right time."

Who's hot -- Nashville's Sergei Kostitsyn has 3 points in his last two games. Goalie Pekka Rinne allowed 10 goals while going 4-1-0 during the Preds' five-game homestand. … Thomas Vanek, Buffalo's top scorer, has 6 points in his last five games. Ryan Miller earned his 30th victory on Saturday, giving him 30 wins in six straight seasons.

Injury report --
Nashville forward Steve Sullivan will be out until April after undergoing groin surgery March 5. Marcel Goc (shoulder surgery), and Matthew Lombardi, Cal O'Reilly and Francis Bouillon (concussions are on IR. … Buffalo forward Jochen Hecht (upper body) is day-to-day. Forward Patrick Kaleta has been sidelined with a bone bruise to his left knee, while a knee injury has goalie Patrick Lalime out indefinitely.

Stat pack -- It's hard to be more even than these two teams. They've split 13 games (6 wins and 1 tie each) and have scored 34 goals apiece. … Buffalo is 20-10-4 since Jan. 1, and 8-3-2 since Terry Pegula completed his purchase of the team. … Miller stopped a penalty shot by Evander Kane on Saturday, making him 12-for-13 in his career.

Puck drop -- Detroit is the team the Predators (and their fans) love to beat -- but the quick turnaround means they don't have much time to enjoy Saturday's win.

"We've got to win again," captain Shea Weber said. "It's a huge win for us, a big rivalry game against Detroit. But we've got to move past it, and we've got a big game against Buffalo, who's fighting for their playoff lives, as well."

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