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Predators Ride Into Buffalo

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Tonight the Predators return to action in Buffalo, taking on a team that's challenging for playoff position much like Nashville, but unlike them, sold off a major asset yesterday by trading away defenseman Brian Campbell for Steve "Spine of Glass" Bernier from San Jose (yes, the guy that Radulov boarded in the playoffs last year).

For an interconference game, there's some interesting history heading in; besides the fact that Bernier will obviously be cowering in fear whenever Radulov steps on the ice, there's J.P. Dumont making his first visit to Buffalo after leaving there as a free agent in the summer of 2006. He won an arbitration case as a restricted free agent, but Sabres GM Darcy Regier didn't want to pay the awarded salary ($2.9 million for one year), so Dumont was able to walk away and sign with Nashville for two years at $2.25 million per. It will be interesting to see how he's received by Sabres fans, I doubt they'll be very harsh, as Dumont was a solid performer in Buffalo and won his arbitration case, so it wasn't like he held Buffalo hostage for a king's ransom.

Oh yeah, and there was also this little dust-up last year when the Sabres came to Nashville. Any chance Scott Nichol and Jaroslav Spacek will get back together?

Game Notes: Jan Hlavac is expected to join the Predators tonight and play on the fourth line, according to John Glennon at the Tennessean. Brandon Bochenski won't make it.

The Preds are 4-3-3 in their last 10 road games, and tonight marks the start of a six-game swing that continues in Dallas, Edmonton, Vancouver, Calgary and Detroit. The Sabres are 5-2-3 in their last 10 home games, and are coming off a shootout loss at home to the Flyers Monday night that saw former Sabre Daniel Briere score the clincher for Philly. Any bets on whether Dumont repeats that feat tonight?

For the Buffalo perspective, check out the outstanding BfloBlog.