The Nashville Predators conclude their season-long, five-game homestand tonight as the Buffalo Sabres come to town. It's the first of two meetings between the clubs on the schedule; Nashville will head to upstate New York in early April.
The Preds snapped a two-game skid with an impressive bounce back effort on Saturday, a 5-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Nashville scored three goals in the first five minutes of a game for the first time in franchise history and stayed strong to collect their 18th win of the season.
"Tonight was 100 percent on the players for their response," Predators Head Coach Peter Laviolette said following the game. "For me, the leadership group and the players get the credit. It was a much better game, and I thought under the circumstances, it was one of our best team wins of the year."
Forwards Eeli Tolvanen and Anthony Richard were recalled prior to Saturday's contest, and Tolvanen proceeded to score his first NHL goal less than four minutes into the game. Richard's appearance was his first in the NHL.
Nashville forward Filip Forsberg was added to the team's growing Injured Reserve list on Saturday and will miss 4-6 weeks with an upper-body injury. He joins Viktor Arvidsson, Kyle Turris and P.K. Subban who are also on IR.
Update: The Preds have reassigned forward Anthony Richard to Milwaukee.
Video: Laviolette earns 200th win as Preds top Blackhawks
Last Time Out:
In addition to Tolvanen's first-career tally, Kevin Fiala, Ryan Johansen, Craig Smith and Austin Watson all found the back of the net on Saturday night in the 5-2 win. Pekka Rinne made 19 saves on the night, while Laviolette collected his 200th Nashville victory.
Johansen leads the club in scoring with 23 points, followed by Roman Josi with 18 points and Mattias Ekholm with 16. With Forsberg and Arvidsson - the team's top two goal scorers - out of the lineup, Smith and Ryan Hartman are currently tied for the lead with seven goals each among active players.
Video: Ekholm and Gaudreau preview tonight's game
Led by former Preds Assistant Coach Phil Housley, the Sabres (17-7-3) are one of the League's top teams. Buffalo has lost two-straight, but rattled off a 10-game win streak prior to the losses. Jack Eichel leads the club with 32 points, and offseason acquisition Jeff Skinner has already hit the 20-goal mark. Skinner has 28 points and Sam Reinhart has 21 points on the season. Former Preds netminder Carter Hutton is 12-7-1 for the Sabres with a .917 save percentage.
The Predators are 14-8-(1)-2 all-time against the Sabres, including a 4-7-(0)-2 record at Bridgestone Arena. At home, Nashville has picked up a point in three of its last five games vs. Buffalo, going 2-2-1. The Predators have earned at least a point in eight of their last 10 meetings with the Sabres (7-2-1).
Video: Coach Laviolette talks tonight's matchup
Notables Versus Buffalo:
Eeli Tolvanen (3/31/18), Viktor Arvidsson (3/21/15) and Juuse Saros (11/28/15) made their NHL debuts against the Sabres. Ryan Johansen is on a personal eight-game point streak versus Buffalo in which he's tallied nine points (2g-7a), and Craig Smith has seven points (4g-3a) in 11 career matchups with Buffalo.
When You Go:
Bridgestone Arena doors open at 5:30 p.m. CT ahead tonight's 7 p.m. puck drop.
The Predators are hosting their annual Jewish Heritage Night at Monday's game, which will include discounted tickets, a $10 donation per ticket to the Jewish organization of the fan's choosing and a pregame menorah lighting. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit www.nashvillepredators.com/jhn18.
Video: The Preds close out the homestand tonight
Watch & Listen:
Coverage for tonight's 7 p.m. puck drop begins with Predators Live on Fox Sports Tennessee at 6:30 p.m. Willy Daunic, Chris Mason and Kara Hammer have the call on the television side, while Pete Weber and Hal Gill will broadcast on 102.5 The Game and the Predators Radio Network.
If the Predators are playing hockey, you can count on the game being on at Preds Approved Bars & Restaurants. Locations throughout Tennessee may be seen by clicking here.
Listen to a Live Radio Feed (only active during the game broadcast window).
Watch a Live Stream of the game on the Fox Sports Go App or Watch on NHL.TV