⏰ 8 p.m. ? MSG ? WGR550
The Sabres (17-7-3), currently fifth in the league, will face a challenge Monday night as they take on the Nashville Predators (18-8-1) who currently sit third in the league and are favored to go deep in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
After two back-to-back losses following a 10-game streak, Buffalo is looking to leave Nashville with a victory and might have a good chance at it. Last season the two teams split their two-game series, both games being 5-4 — Jack Eichel scored the Sabres game-winning goal in overtime.
“I know it’s going to be difficult,” Sabres Head Coach Phil Housley said at practice on Sunday. “I know Nashville has a lot of injuries but they’re still a good hockey team and they have good goaltending.”
Conor Sheary returned to practice and might play Monday night, along with teammates Rasmus Ristolainen (did not skate at practice but expected to play) and Jake McCabe. The Sabres reported on Sunday that Marco Scandella was sent home. Jason Pominville will be out following an injury on Friday – he was hit from behind by Florida defenseman Alex Petrovic and braced his fall with his hand and arm, leaving the game early.
The Sabres are currently averaging three goals per game and scoring on 19.5 percent of their power play opportunities. Jeff Skinner leads Buffalo with 20 goals, just one away from tying first place for leading goal scorer in the league. Defensively, the Sabres are allowing 2.8 goals per game and are killing 80.2 percent of their opponents power plays.
Nashville notes: Injuries have also plagued Nashville as Filip Forsberg (who leads his team with 14 goals), Kyle Turris, Viktor Arvidsson and P.K. Subban are out Monday night. They have split their last 10 games and are averaging 3.3 goals per game and are scoring on 15 percent of their power play opportunities. Defensively, the Predators are allowing 2.4 goals per game and are killing 80.2 percent of their opponents power plays, just like the Sabres.
Former Predators backup goalie Carter Hutton is expected to oppose Pekka Rinne in net. Rinne has given up 32 goals on 485 shots faced while Hutton has given up 51 goals on 615 shots faced.