Nashville at Buffalo
When: 7:00 PM ET, Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Where: KeyBank Center, Buffalo, New York
Filip Forsberg and the Nashville Predators are loaded with confidence these days and they'll try for their sixth straight victory in Buffalo against the Sabres on Tuesday. Forsberg, the NHL's First Star of the Week, scored in Sunday's 5-4 victory over Edmonton to give him eight goals in his last four games and help Nashville increase its lead to four points over St. Louis for third place in the Central Division and seven on ninth-place Los Angeles in the Western Conference.
"We seem to be kind of coming on at the right time," Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis told reporters after Nashville won its third straight game. "Our big guys are starting to put the puck in the net. That's what we need going forward. It's a combination of good play defensively and good play offensively, but it's starting to kind of work out in our favor here." Buffalo's playoff hopes took a sharper turn south when it lost back-to-back games to the NHL's worst teams, including a 3-2 setback at Arizona on Sunday when the Coyotes' Radim Vrbata scored with 18 seconds left to hand the Sabres their third straight loss. That left Buffalo seven points behind Toronto for the second wild-card spot in the East, a position that perhaps forces the Sabres into sell mode prior to Wednesday's trade deadline. Buffalo prevailed in the first of two meetings this season 5-4 on Jan. 24 behind a pair of goals by Jack Eichel, including one at 2:35 of overtime, and won the last two encounters after losing the previous five.TV:
7 p.m. ET, FSN Tennessee (Nashville), MSG BuffaloABOUT THE PREDATORS (31-22-9):
James Neal (18 goals) scored once in the last 14 games and his slump landed him on the fourth line over the weekend, but he responded with three assists Sunday (two on the power play), telling reporters: "I feel like I've got to be better. That's really it. Be harder, be accountable and play some better hockey." Defenseman Roman Josi extended his point streak to five games (two goals, six assists) with two assists Sunday and has six goals and eight assists in 11 February games since returning from a concussion. Viktor Arvidsson (44 points) scored in three straight games, giving him 21 goals in 60 games this season after totaling eight in his first 62 career contests, while Ryan Johansen (team-high 47 points) recorded seven assists in the last four games.ABOUT THE SABRES (26-26-10):
Evander Kane (team-leading 21 goals), who didn't score in the last two games after tallying in three straight and appears to be the most likely player to be traded, told reporters about the chatter: "It definitely doesn't affect me. Am I aware of it? Of course. But it doesn't affect me. It's just this time of year." Kyle Okposo has 18 goals and a club-most 39 points, but recorded one assist in the last five games after enjoying a seven-game point streak (three goals, four assists). Top goaltender Robin Lehner didn't dress Sunday as a precautionary measure after getting hit in the head twice during Saturday's 5-3 loss in Colorado.OVERTIME
1. Buffalo has the third-best power play (22.4 percent) through Sunday's games despite going 3-for-23 over the last seven contests.
2. The Sabres own the second-worst penalty-killing unit (75.8), but are 13-for-13 over the last six games.
3. Nashville scored four or more goals in its last five games and in seven of its last eight.PREDICTION:
Predators 4, Sabres 2
Stats and Records