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Sabres host Predators in rare meeting

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The last time the Buffalo Sabres (19-37-8) faced the Nashville Predators (27-28-10) was on December 2, 2011 at the Bridgestone Arena. In the game, Ryan Miller made 32 saves and Tyler Ennis scored the game winner as the Sabres won 3-2. On Tuesday, the Sabres are home to host Nashville at the First Niagara Center.

Buffalo has lost their last two games, recently a 2-1 loss at home to South Buffalo native Patrick Kane and the Chicago Blackhawks. Canisius College graduate Cory Conacher returned to Buffalo putting up an assist on Drew Stafford’s first period goal. Conacher also had three shots on goal in 15:02 of total ice-time. After being claimed off waivers from the Ottawa Senators, Conacher felt his first game with the Sabres went pretty well.

“It was a battle tonight, and obviously we were on the short end of it, but I think we have to leave with a pretty positive attitude after that,” Conacher said.

“I liked the way [Conacher] has a little vinegar in him, he competes hard. We need some people who compete. … You could never go wrong when you have guys who love to compete,” said Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan following the loss.

Jhonas Enroth stood strong against Chicago making 29 saves on 31 shots faced in the losing effort.

In the loss on Sunday night, Nolan looked in the positives in players such as Enroth and Marcus Foligno.

“When you’re rebuilding and going through a phase like we’re going through, you look for certain things,” Nolan said. “Like a young Marcus Foligno. You see him starting to emerge as one of the leaders in the locker room and on the bench, he’s a little more vocal now.

“Jhonas is another one of those guys. He’s had great tutelage over the last couple years, not only by our goaltending coach in Jim [Corsi] but more importantly watching one of the premiere goaltenders in this league work. So far so good.”

For the Predators, they are playing their second game in as many nights. On Monday, Nashville gave up a three goal lead to the Ottawa Senators in the third period. In Overtime, rookie defenseman Seth Jones buried a loose puck in front of goaltender Craig Anderson to give the Predators the win.

The Sabres have been a banged-up bunch since the end of the NHL Trade Deadline. Bad news for forward Chris Stewart as his season may be over with the Sabres. He collided with Lightning goalie Anders Lindback on Thursday and suffered a lower-body injury. The extent of his injury is unknown at this point in time. Defenseman Alex Sulzer is expected to be out for another 7-10 days with a lower-body injury. Forwards Zemgus Girgensons and Torrey Mitchell are questionable to return on Tuesday as both nurse their lower-body injuries. Tyler Myers missed practice on Monday, but Nolan said that he is expected to play on Tuesday.

For Nashville, Pekka Rinne has returned to the Predators net after missing 51 games following hip surgery and an E. Coli infection. Since his return, Rinne has played four straight games with a 1-3 record. With Rinne’s return, the Predators are back to full health.

Jhonas Enroth will get the start tonight for the Sabres, while the Predators will give Rinne a break by starting Carter Hutton.

Opening face-off is scheduled for 7pm. The game will be broadcasted on MSG Network and also aired on WGR 550 AM.

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