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Game Day: Sabres vs. Preds

by Nashville Predators / Nashville Predators

(20-44-7) Buffalo Sabres vs. Nashville Predators (43-21-8)
  7 P.M. | Bridgestone Arena
TV: FS-TN | Radio: 102.5 The Game | Nissan Pregame: 6:30 P.M.
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After three days between games for the first time in two months, the Nashville Predators are back in action tonight as they welcome the Buffalo Sabres to Bridgestone Arena for a 7 p.m. puck drop.

This evening's contest is Nashville's first since Tuesday, when the Preds fell 4-3 in overtime to Minnesota. The Sabres lost last night to New Jersey by a 3-1 final in Buffalo.

The Predators recalled forward Viktor Arvidsson on Friday from their AHL affiliate Milwaukee, his first career recall. After practice on Friday, Head Coach Peter Laviolette stated that forward Colin Wilson is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. Forward James Neal was also absent from practice on Friday, continuing to deal with an upper-body injury.

Roman Josi tallied his 13th and 14th goals of the season on Tuesday against the Wild, the third time in his career that he has recorded a two-goal game. Josi’s goals, scored in a 45-second span in the second period, were the fastest two goals by a defenseman in franchise history and just the third time this season that a Preds player has scored multiple goals in a single period. The last Predators player to score twice in 45 seconds or less was Scott Hartnell, who tallied twice in 23 seconds in a 4-1 win over the Coyotes on Feb. 19, 2007.

Josi, who has tallied goals in back-to-back games for the second time in his career, has 51 points this season (14g-37a). His point total is first among Preds blueliners and puts him four back of Nashville’s scoring lead (55 points).

Matt Cullen recorded his second assist in the last three games to push his point total to nine (2g-7a) in his last 15 games. For his career, Cullen has found the most productivity in the month of March, tallying 115 points (37g-78a) in 222 games played. 

In recording the lone assist on Roman Josi’s first goal on Tuesday, Filip Forsberg separated himself from a tie with Mike Ribeiro for the Preds lead in points this season (21g-34a-55pts).

Pekka Rinne, who recorded his 200th career win last Saturday in L.A, is second in the NHL in wins (37) and is in the Top Five in both goals-against average (2.12) and save percentage (.926). Rinne ranks in the Top Five among Finnish goaltenders in NHL history in games played (fourth, 372), wins (third, 200) and shutouts (second, 35).

Tyler Ennis leads the Sabres on the offensive side of the puck with 18 goals and 39 points to his name this season. Matt Moulson (35) and Zemgus Girgensons (30) are the only other two Buffalo skaters to reach the 30-point mark thus far.

After dealing away goaltenders Jhonas Enroth and Michal Neuvirth earlier this season, former Preds netminder Anders Lindback has gotten the call as of late for the Sabres, going 1-4-2 in seven starts sporting a Buffalo jersey.

Buffalo's visit to Bridgestone Arena tonight is the first of Nashville’s two-game set against Eastern Conference opponents that concludes with Montreal’s visit on Tuesday. The Sabres and Canadiens games are the final two visits by Eastern Conference teams to Bridgestone Arena during the 2014-15 regular season. On the season, Nashville is 16-10-2 against the East and 11-3-0 against them on home ice.

This two-game set is a part of the month of March where Nashville plays seven of 15 contests out of conference. After playing Buffalo and Montreal at home, the Preds travel to play the Tampa Bay Lightning and Washington Capitals on March 26 and 28. The Caps game on the 28th ends Nashville’s run of regular season Eastern Conference opponents.

On Tuesday, 17,209 fans were in attendance to see the Preds take on the Wild, the sixth consecutive game that the Predators have played in front of a sold-out crowd. Tuesday’s attendance brings the 2014-15 average to 16,835 (98.4 percent capacity).

The current six-game home sell-out streak, which dates back to Feb. 24, improves Bridgestone Arena’s sell out number to 24 this season, the third time in the last four seasons that the Preds have topped the 20 sell-out mark. With six home games remaining in the regular season, Nashville is one game from tying the franchise record for most sellouts during the regular-season (25 in 2011-12).

Just Buffalo’s third visit to Nashville since Dec. 3, 2011, it is the 10th meeting overall between the two teams at Bridgestone Arena, where the Preds record against Buffalo is 3-5-(0)-1. In 18 games versus the Sabres in franchise history, the Preds are 10-6-(1)-1.

Predators Game Day Video:

Preds Players: Craig Smith, Gabriel Bourque and Cody Franson


What to Watch for: Brent and Willy's Breakdown


Coach Presser: Head Coach Peter Laviolette



Morning Skate Update:

The Preds held a morning skate at Bridgestone Arena prior to this evening's contest with Buffalo. Forwards James Neal (upper-body), Colin Wilson (lower-body) and Eric Nystrom (lower-body) were all absent from the skate and are not expected to play tonight. Winger Viktor Arvidsson, recalled yesterday from the AHL's Milwaukee Admirals, is expected to make his NHL debut tonight with the Preds.

Nashville Morning Skate Lines:

Forwards:


Arvidsson - Ribeiro - Bourque

Cullen - Fisher - Smith

Forsberg - Jarnkrok - Stalberg

Beck - Gaustad - Santorelli

Defensemen:

Josi - Weber

Jones - Franson

Ekholm - Ellis

Bartley - Volchenkov

Goaltenders:

Pekka Rinne*

Carter Hutton

*Probable Starter


Buffalo Projected Lines:

Forwards:


Moulson - Larsson - Ennis

Foligno - Varone - Gionta

Deslauriers - Grigorenko - Hodgson

D'Amigo - Ellis - Dalpe

Defensemen:

Weber - Ristolainen

Benoit - Strachan

Zadorov - Meszaros

Goaltenders:

Matt Hackett*

Anders Lindback

*Projected Starter
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