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Game Day: Sabres vs. Preds

by Thomas Willis & Brooks Bratten / Nashville Predators

(9-12-2) Buffalo Sabres vs. Nashville Predators (12-6-4)
  7 P.M. | Bridgestone Arena | #BUFvsNSH
TV: FS-TN | Radio: 102.5 The Game | Pregame: 6:30 P.M.
Tickets | Golden Saturday


The Nashville Predators return home from a five-game road trip tonight to host the Buffalo Sabres at Bridgestone Arena on a Golden Saturday. The Preds and the Sabres will meet for the second time this week; the first came in a 3-2 Nashville win on Wednesday in Buffalo.

The Predators went 1-3-1 on their road trip, including a 3-2 overtime loss yesterday afternoon against Philadelphia. Filip Forsberg snapped a 17-game goalless drought when he tallied his third of the season in the first period. Mike Fisher tied the game 2-2 with just 20 seconds remaining in regulation before the Flyers won in overtime.

Buffalo beat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-1 last night to end a six-game winless streak, pushing their record to 9-12-2 on the season.

Nashville has played in 12 one-goal games this season, earning points in 11 of those contests (7-1-4 record). The Preds have a 9-0-2 record when holding their opponent to two or fewer goals, and are 9-1-1 when scoring three goals or more.

Pekka Rinne appeared in his 400th career game on Friday afternoon, becoming just the fourth Finnish-born goaltender in NHL history to reach the 400-game plateau. Miikka Kiprusoff (623), Kari Lehtonen (521) and Niklas Backstrom (409) have also played in at least 400 NHL contests. Rinne is also one of seven NHL goaltenders since 2008-09 to win at least 200 games.

James Neal leads Nashville in goals (9) and points (17) through 22 games this season. Defenseman Roman Josi has four goals and 10 assists, while forward Filip Forsberg has three goals and 10 helpers. Captain Shea Weber has tallied six times on the season, five of which have come on the power play. Fisher has a point in four of his last five games versus the Sabres (2g-2a), while both Craig Smith (4g-2a) and Colin Wilson (1g-5a) have each recorded points in five of six career games against Buffalo. Rinne is 10-5-4 on the season; goaltender Carter Hutton is 4-0-0 all-time against versus the Sabres.

Ryan O'Reilly leads the Sabres in points with 17 (7g-10a), while rookie forward Jack Eichel has potted eight goals on the campaign to pace Buffalo in the category. Goaltender Chad Johnson, who relieved Linus Ullmark against the Predators on Wednesday, is 5-7-1 on the season.

Nashville has won five-straight games against Buffalo, outscoring the Sabres 17-5 in those contests. The last time Buffalo visited Bridgestone Arena on March 21, 2015, Fisher and Smith recorded goals and Rinne stopped all 24 shots he faced in a 3-0 victory. All-time, the Preds have a 12-6-2 record against the Sabres.


Predators Game Day Video:

Preds Players: Mike Fisher, Roman Josi and Filip Forsberg


What to Watch for: Preds Web Team Breakdown


Coach Presser: Head Coach Peter Laviolette


Projected Lineups:

Nashville Predators:

The Predators did not hold a morning skate on Saturday, below is the team's projected lineup based on their game yesterday afternoon versus the Flyers.

Update: At 6:00 p.m. (CT), the Preds recalled forward Viktor Arvidsson and goaltender Juuse Saros from Milwaukee (AHL). Forwards Paul Gaustad (upper-body) and Gabriel Bourque (upper-body) were placed on Injured Reserve.

Pekka Rinne and Juuse Saros will be the goaltenders for Nashville versus the Sabres, with Carter Hutton out of the lineup with a lower-body injury.


Forwards
Filip Forsberg Mike Ribeiro James Neal
Colin Wilson Mike Fisher Craig Smith
Viktor Arvidsson Calle Jarnkrok Cody Hodgson
Eric Nystrom Colton Sissons Austin Watson
Defense
Roman Josi Shea Weber
Barret Jackman Seth Jones
Mattias Ekholm Ryan Ellis

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Extra: (F) Miikka Salomaki (IR; upper-body), (F) Paul Gaustad (IR; upper-body), (F) Gabriel Bourque (IR; upper-body), (G) Carter Hutton (lower-body), (D) Victor Bartley, (D) Anthony Bitetto


Buffalo Sabres:

Forwards
Matt Moulson Ryan O'Reilly Brian Gionta
Evander Kane Jack Eichel Sam Reinhart
Johan Larsson Zemgus Girgensons Tyler Ennis
Marcus Foligno David Legwand Jamie McGinn
Defense
Josh Gorges Rasmus Ristolainen
Zach Bogosian Jake McCabe
Carlo Colaiacovo Cody Franson

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Goaltenders: Chad Johnson will start in net tonight with Linus Ullmark serving as the backup.

Extra:
(F) Nicolas Deslauriers, (F) Tim Schaller, (D) Mark Pysyk

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