The Buffalo Sabres will face the Nashville Predators tonight for the second time in 16 days, as the teams meet at Bridgestone Arena for an 8 p.m. puck drop.
The Predators currently sit nine points out of a wild card playoff spot, with nine games remaining in the regular season. Nashville is 31-31-11 on the season and are 5-4-1 in their last ten games. The Preds are coming off a 5-4 shootout loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday.
On the other hand, the Sabres are 1-9-0 in their last ten games and are last in the Eastern Conference with 48 points. Playoff hopes dashed, the Sabres can still try to play spoiler to some teams who are teeter-tottering on every point.
The Sabres haven’t scored in 117:31 of ice time, dating back to the early start they got in the Canucks game. They’ll need to come out charging tonight if they want to capture the two points against the Preds.
It certainly won’t be an easy task, as the Sabres are dealing with injuries on top of injuries.
Tyler Myers is likely out after getting injured during Tuesday’s game against Montreal. Zemgus Girgensons remains out of the lineup with an undisclosed injury that’s kept him out the last 10 games. Zenon Konopka is out with a back injury, Jhonas Enroth and Michal Neuvirth remain out; Alex Sulzer, Chris Stewart, Torrey Mitchell.
Marcus Foligno missed practice yesterday but is expected to play tonight.
Tonight’s game marks the second meeting of the season between the Sabres and Predators. The teams previously met in Buffalo on March 11, when the Preds came out on top by a score of 4-1. Drew Stafford had the lone goal for the Sabres, while Jhonas Enroth had 20 saves in the loss.
The Sabres haven’t lost a game in Nashville since November 29, 2003 – a stretch of three games over 10 years.
Players to watch for the Sabres include Tyler Ennis, who has a point in each of his three career games against the Predators. Overall, Ennis has 15 points in his last 19 games. Drew Stafford has 18 points in his last 22 games.
Matt Hackett is expected to tend net for the Sabres tonight, marking his first career NHL game against the Predators. Like the Sabres, the Predators have seen their own spin of the goaltending carousel this season. Five different players have seen in-net action for Nashville: Carter Hutton, Marek Mazanec, Pekka Rinne, Devan Dubnyk and Magnus Hellberg.
Currently, it’s Hutton and Rinne, who played Tuesday against the Avalanche.
Players to watch for the Preds include defenseman Shea Weber, who leads the team with 46 points on the season. Center Craig Smith has 20 goals in 70 games this season, while David Legwand, Mike Fisher and Patric Hornqvist are all the near the top in scoring for Nashville.
Tonight’s game is an 8 p.m. puck drop in Smashville and marks the end – finally! – of the five-game road trip for the Sabres, who will return home on Saturday to host the Lightning. With just nine game left in the regular season for the Sabres, we’re in the home stretch now…. let’s finish the year out with a bang.