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Game Preview: Nashville Predators vs. Buffalo Sabres

The playoff race is on, and the Preds need a good trip up north against Buffalo to stay in the thick of it

NHL: Ottawa Senators at Nashville Predators Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Opposition

The Buffalo Sabres enter tonight’s contest with a record of 24-33-11 (59 points), with a regulation loss bringing the team to the precipice of playoff elimination. Obviously, this is a new, Jack Eichel-less era for the Sabres, but the team is still dangerous.

Buffalo won the only other regular season matchup between the two teams, a 4-1 victory on January 13th by the Sabres. Tage Thompson and Jeff Skinner lead the team in goals, with 28 and 27 respectively, and improving goaltending including Dustin Tokarski’s 7-9-5 record.

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Buffalo Sabres
Stopping Tage Thompson and Jeff Skinner will be key to a Predators win tonight
Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Luckily for the penalty-prone Nashville Predators, Buffalo brings the league’s 21st ranked power play, and an even worse penalty kill ranked 26th in the NHL. Nashville also holds the advantage in the faceoff circle against the Sabres, the worst faceoff team in the league. Still, Buffalo and Nashville’s recent stretch of games aren’t that dissimilar - both teams racked up 6 wins in their previous 10 matchups, with Buffalo improving on Nashville’s record with 3 of 4 losses coming in overtime.


The Nashville Predators

Analytics Preview - BUF vs NSH
Hockeyviz.com

As stated above, Nashville has started to recover from a rollercoaster month of March and a 6-4-0 record in their last 10. Juuse Saros has improved from late in the month that saw the Predators allowing a barrage of shots on a nightly basis, and was key to the 4-1 victory over Ottawa earlier this week.

Predators captain Roman Josi - on a tremendously awful slump after posting one game without a point in the month of march - looks to continue his pursuit of the franchise record for points in a season, held by David Legwand (85) - Josi is only 4 points away from tying the record, and at this rate could tie the record tonight.

Of course there’s also Tanner Jeannot’s pursuit of the franchise’s rookie goal record, currently held by Filip Forsberg with 26, as well as Forsberg’s continued record-breaking season. The soon-to-be free agent has shattered the single-season goal record previously held by Viktor Arvidsson, sitting at 37 goals - just three away from becoming Nashville’s first and only 40 goal scorer.

NHL: Colorado Avalanche at Nashville Predators
Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi (59) celebrates with left wing Filip Forsberg (9) and left wing Tanner Jeannot (84) after a goal during the third period against the Colorado Avalanche at Bridgestone Arena.
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Where to Watch

Bally Sports South has tonight’s game, and puck drop is at 6:00 PM. 102.5 The Game has the radio call.

What do you think?

Predict the outcome of tonight’s game!

Poll

Who will win tonight’s matchup?

This poll is closed

  • 66%
    Predators by 2 or more
    (12 votes)
  • 27%
    Predators by 1
    (5 votes)
  • 0%
    Sabres by 1
    (0 votes)
  • 5%
    Sabres by 2 or more
    (1 vote)
18 votes total Vote Now