Predators vs. Sabres preview: Home cooking? How about BBQ Buffalo?

BUFFALO, NY - NOVEMBER 26: Luke Adam #72 of the Buffalo Sabres celebrates his goal against the Washington Capitals during their NHL game at First Niagara Center on November 26, 2011 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Dave Sandford Getty Images)

The Nashville Predators open a crucial stretch of home games tonight against the Buffalo Sabres (7:00 p.m., no local TV). The joint should be jumping tonight, and Bridgestone Arena should be sold out, as is becoming pretty typical on Saturday nights (if you want to look for tickets available for resale, check out the Tickets link on the top bar).

Follow after the jump for the Tale Of The Tape and more!

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Tale Of The Tape

Buffalo (13-11-1) at Nashville (12-9-4)
BUF Offense vs. NSH Defense NSH Offense vs. BUF Defense
GF/60 SF/60 Shoot % GA/60 SA/60 Save %
BUF Offense 2.5 (12th) 30.1 (14th) 8.2 (15th) 2.4 (13th) 30.7 (23rd) 922 (14th) BUF Defense
NSH Defense 2.3 (10th) 32.1 (29th) 928 (8th) 2.2 (22nd) 25.2 (28th) 8.9 (7th) NSH Offense
GA/60 SA/60 Save % GF/60 SF/60 Shoot %
Special Teams
GF/60 SF/60 Shoot % GA/60 SA/60 Save %
BUF 5-on-4 6.3 (12th) 59.4 (3rd) 10.7 (19th) 4.9 (10th) 47.4 (9th) 896 (11th) BUF 4-on-5
NSH 4-on-5 6.2 (18th) 54.5 (24th) 885 (15th) 6.5 (8th) 49.5 (14th) 13.0 (11th) NSH 5-on-4
GA/60 SA/60 Save % GF/60 SF/60 Shoot %

The Sabres are a mediocre 5-on-5 team, but the danger lies on special teams, where they've been above-average on both sides of that battle. Just as a series of penalties helped to give up that early lead the Preds built in Vancouver the other night, they need to stay out of the box against Buffalo. The key will be not to fall victim to Patrick Kaleta's antics, as it's his job to agitate the other team in much the same way that Jordin Tootoo does for Nashville.

Buffalo Sabres

The Sabres come into this one on the heels of a 4-1 loss last night at Detroit, a game in which they lost forward Nathan Gerbe when a teammate's skate came up and hit him in the face. He's out for tonight, but fortuantely the injury doesn't appear to be nearly as bad as it could have been, and he shouldn't be out long.

As a team, Buffalo is struggling right now, having won only two of their last 8 games. The Sabres do boast one of the league's hottest rookies so far in Luke Adam, but the main guy to keep an eye out for is one of the least-discussed great goal-scorers in the game, Thomas Vanek:

Thomas Vanek

#26 / Left Wing / Buffalo Sabres



Jan 19, 1984

2011 - Thomas Vanek 25 12 15 27 3 24 6 0 3 86 13.9

It's also possible that we'll see Ryan Miller in goal for the Sabres, making his first appearance since taking a hard hit from Boston's Milan Lucic back on November 12. Miller ranks among the game's top netminders, but the question will be whether there's any rust to shake off there.

Buffalo Sabres Last 5 Games

Detroit Fri 12/02 L 1 - 4
New York Islanders Tue 11/29 L 1 - 2
Washington Sat 11/26 W 5 - 1
@ Columbus Fri 11/25 L 1 - 5
Boston Wed 11/23 SO - L 3 - 4

Nashville Predators News

There will be a couple lineup shuffles for the Predators in tonight's game, their first at home since that November 22nd loss to Edmonton. The Preds have dropped their last two on home ice when you include the Columbus game, and that's a trend they'll want to reverse quickly, as 6 of their next 7 games take place at Bridgestone Arena.

As Josh Cooper reported earlier today, Chris Mueller has been called up from Milwaukee, and Sergei Kostitsyn is still out. Perhaps most interestingly, Anders Lindback gets the start in goal after helping lead the Predators to victory in Vancouver, entering the game after the Preds fell behind 5-3 in the second period.

Anders Lindback

#39 / Goalie / Nashville Predators



May 03, 1988

Fake Twitter: @FakeLindback

2011 - Anders Lindback 5 228 2 1 0 9 2.37 110 101 .918 0
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