NHL Game Preview - Sabres v Predators

 
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5:00 PM PT6:00 PM MT7:00 PM CT8:00 PM ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 PM MST8:00 PM EST5:00 UAE (+1)20:00 ET23:00 BRT, January 18, 2020
Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tennessee  Attendance: 17,729

Hynes' Predators ready for Sabres

Buffalo Sabres at Nashville Predators

  1. The road team has won seven of the last nine games between these teams, with the Sabres having won three straight in Nashville before a 2-1 loss in their lone 2018-19 visit. Buffalo earned a 4-3 home victory over the Predators on Dec. 12 but has never swept a season series of at least two games from Nashville.
  2. Buffalo will be aiming for a season-high fourth straight victory and has outscored opponents 13-4 during its current winning streak. The Sabres have yielded two goals or fewer in each of their last six wins. Buffalo last allowed under three goals in seven consecutive victories from Oct. 16-Nov. 21, 2016.
  3. The Predators are 0-3-0 in their last three home games and have managed only two goals in each of those defeats. Nashville ranks third in the NHL in goals per game on the road (3.52) but is averaging just 2.17 goals per game at home since Dec. 10, tied for 28th in the league over that time frame.
  4. Ryan Johansen has recorded a goal in four of his last six meetings with the Sabres and owns an 11-game point streak against Buffalo, his longest against any opponent for his career. The last player with a 12-game point streak against the Sabres was Sidney Crosby, who posted a 19-game run from 2007-14.
  5. Jack Eichel had an assist in Buffalo's 4-1 win at Dallas on Thursday to join David Pastrnak as the only players this season with two separate point streaks of at least nine games. Eichel is one game away from becoming the first Sabres player since Alexander Mogilny in 1992-93 with two point streaks of 10 or more games in a season.
  6. Roman Josi has six goals and six assists during a seven-game point streak against Eastern Conference opponents. Josi's 0.44 goals per game and 1.17 points per game against East teams this season are both the highest marks by any defenseman against that conference (min. 50 percent games played).

The Nashville Predators continue to get used to a new coach after 5 1/2 seasons under Peter Laviolette, who guided them to a Presidents' Trophy and a trip to the Stanley Cup Final.

The Predators are 2-3 since John Hynes took over last week and will look to snap a two-game skid when they play host to the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday.

"No one is going to give this group confidence," Hynes said after Thursday's 4-2 home loss to Anaheim. "Confidence comes through your preparation, how you're going to play, playing the game the right way and doing the right things.

"That's our task moving forward is getting this group mentally focused and (to have) more push-back in our game. Those are the things we're going to address with our group and try to continue moving forward."

Viktor Arvidsson and Mikael Granlund scored against the Ducks, and Juuse Saros made 23 saves for the Predators, who fell behind 2-0 in the opening 12:22 and never caught up en route to suffering a third straight home loss.

"It feels like when we go down 1-0 or 2-0, it seems like we are just dead on the bench," Predators forward Rocco Grimaldi told NHL.com. "And that's something we've got to take out of our game. We're going to get down in games, it's going to happen. ... But we can't just sit and be like 'Here we go again.' I feel like that's sometimes how the mindset is on the bench. It gets quiet when we start getting down 1-0 or 2-0."

Defenseman and captain Roman Josi, who leads the Predators in scoring with 47 points (14 goals, 33 assists), admitted his team is still learning Hynes' way.

"We're still working towards the systems and getting the habits and stuff," Josi said. "There's definitely things that we can do better."

The Sabres won 4-1 Thursday in Dallas, matching their season high with a third straight victory.

Goaltender Linus Ullmark made 28 saves to pick up his 16th win of the season, setting a career high in victories, and the Sabres got a pair of empty-net goals.

After taking a 1-0 lead in the first period, the Sabres were outshot 16-5 in the second but still managed to keep a 2-1 lead thanks to a late goal by 19-year-old defenseman Rasmus Dahlin.

"I thought the second period, actually, scoring chance-wise was pretty even," Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said. "They had more shots than we did, but if you look at the game storyline, you had to expect some pushback after being up on them after the first and they gave a strong push.

"I was just really proud with how the guys came out in the third and were comfortable with the 2-1 lead once we had it and just managed it. ... I thought it was just a really good evening of learning for us and growing. Just pleased with the team effort that happened here throughout the whole game."

The Sabres won 4-3 the teams' last meeting in Buffalo on Dec. 12, when Jack Eichel scored twice.

--Field Level Media

Updated January 17, 2020

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