|Nashville Predators||Buffalo Sabres|
|5-on-5 Close SF/60||29.9||13th||25.3||30th|
|5-on-5 Close SA/60||27.2||4th||35.6||30th|
|5-on-5 Close Save %||.907||27th||.925||16th|
|# of PP's/Gm||3.05||28th||3.19||21st|
|# of PK's/Gm||3.05||4th||3.38||19th|
For those of you who wonder what a full-scale rebuild looks like, behold the Buffalo Sabres. With franchise stalwarts Jason Pominville, Thomas Vanek & Ryan Miller all shipped out of town over the last year or so, leaving a parcel of prospects & no-names to toil their way through a season with the only reward in sight being a 1st-overall draft pick in June.
Seriously, look at that stats box above - the Sabres are a simmering pile of garbage these days.
Heck, three times this season they've tried to assign a player to the minors, and that player has refused to report, the latest being defenseman Rusty Klesla, who was picked up at the Trade Deadline from Phoenix. Toss in the confusion which hung over the team in light of the sudden departure of Pat LaFontaine from the Buffalo front office, and it's hard to tell whether this franchise is walking the long road back to competitiveness, or merely spinning their wheels in an Edmonton-like morass.
Hopefully last night's roller-coaster game instilled some confidence in the forwards, as the team busted out of a nasty goal-scoring slump and responded to the adversity of giving up a 3-goal third period lead by taking the victory in overtime. Hopefully they can keep the good times rolling against a Sabres team which had its lone strength in goal, but recently sent Ryan Miller to St. Louis via trade. This is an AHL-caliber lineup the Predators are facing tonight, so let's see if they can take advantage of that.
It has already been announced that Carter Hutton will get the start tonight, giving him his first shot at action since March 1st vs Winnipeg, so let's see how he settles back into the job he was meant to hold this season, that of getting the occasional start and doing the third-period interview from the bench most nights with Pete & Terry.
Game time is 6:00 p.m. Central tonight, so check back later for the Game Thread!