Sabres Fail to Slow Down League’s Best


The Buffalo Sabres posted 35 shots on net but Predators goalie Pekka Rinne turned aside each and every one of them as Nashville topped the Sabres by a 4-0 final Monday night in Buffalo. The win was Nashville’s 14th in its past 15 games and the Preds have recorded all but one possible point during that span.

Jack Eichel played nearly 20 minutes in his second game back from injury and paced the Sabres with five shots on goal. Defensemen Rasmus Ristolainen and Brendan Guhle added four shots apiece for Buffalo, but not a single Sabres skater could find a way to put a puck past Rinne who recorded his eighth shutout of the season, setting a career-high after posting seven in both the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 seasons.

After a scoreless opening frame, recently unretired Predators forward Mike Fisher opened the scoring, deflecting a shot in front of Linus Ullmark to give Nashville a 1-0 lead. The original shot was taken by Miikka Salomaki and Fisher got a piece of the puck while leaning on Rasmus Ristolainen, good for Fisher’s second score of the season in his seventh game played.

The Predators doubled their advantage just less than five minutes later when Ryan Johansen converted on a backside rebound opportunity after a  3-on-1 break. Filip Forsberg carried the puck into the offensive zone and fired a shot that Ullmark saved, but the puck trickled off to the other side of the net where Forsberg sat and flipped in the rebound for a 2-0 Nashville advantage.

Nashville added its third score of the night after Forsberg converted on yet another rebound to extend the lead to 3-0. Arvidsson sat in front of the net with the puck on his stick, putting a slight wrist shot on goal. Ullmark made the first save put the puck caromed off his pad and right to Forsberg’s stick in front of an open net after Ullmark had come out to cut down the angle. Forsberg’s 21st of the season put the game out of reach for Buffalo.

Nashville ensured its victory and iced the game when Ryan Hartman broke into the zone and fired an uncontested wrist shot past Ullmark to mark a four-goal advantage for the Predators. Neither Marco Scandella nor Brendan Guhle could get back into the defensive zone in time after Alexei Emelin’s stretch pass led Hartman right into the offensive zone. It was Hartman’s 11th of the season from Emelin and Colton Sissons.

Ullmark stopped 28 of the 32 shots he faced in what was only his second start of the season for Buffalo, his first since January 11th when he made 44 saves against Columbus.

The Sabres hit the ice again Wednesday night against the Arizona Coyotes in a battle of the NHL’s two worst teams. It is game five of the Sabres six-game homestand, where they have picked up three points through the first four contests. Puck drop is slated for 7:00 pm at KeyBank Center in Buffalo.



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