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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Wednesday, February 27th (All times eastern)

Nashville Predators (32-24-8) at Buffalo Sabres (30-24-9), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Buffalo Sabres will try to put the departure of Brian Campbell behind them tonight, when they welcome the Nashville Predators for an interconference battle at HSBC Arena.

The Sabres traded their best defenseman before Tuesday's deadline, sending Campbell to San Jose for young forward Steve Bernier and a first-round pick in the 2008 draft. Buffalo also sent a seventh-round pick to the Sharks.

Campbell was an All-Star in each of the last two seasons and was Buffalo's top-scoring defenseman this year with 43 points (5 goals, 38 assists). The 28- year-old is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2007-08 season.

Bernier had 13 goals, 10 assists and 62 penalty minutes in 59 games for the Sharks this year. The 22-year-old is expected to make his debut with the Sabres tonight.

Sabres center Jochen Hecht has missed the last two games with a pulled leg muscle, but is questionable for tonight's contest. Also, right wing Maxim Afinogenov has been out with a groin injury since New Year's Day, but is expected to return later this week.

Buffalo will also attempt to halt a two-game slide in this evening's contest. The Sabres most recent setback came Monday evening against Daniel Briere and the visiting Philadelphia Flyers.

Briere, playing his second game in Buffalo since departing the Sabres as a free agent last summer, netted the deciding shootout tally against his former team to lift Philadelphia to the 4-3 decision. The Flyers came back from a 3-0 deficit in the first period and ended a 10-game losing streak.

Jason Pominville had a goal and an assist while Ryan Miller made 32 stops for the Sabres, who are tied with Philadelphia for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East.

Buffalo is playing the third test of a five-game homestand tonight. The Sabres are 16-10-4 as the host this season, but have dropped three of their last four home games.

The Predators have also been handed back-to-back losses and are coming off Saturday's setback against visiting Dallas. Mike Ribeiro had two goals and two assists to lead the Stars to the easy 6-3 win at the Sommet Center.

Ryan Suter, J.P. Dumont and Ville Koistinen each had a goal for the Predators, who have dropped three of their last four games. Nashville is tied with Vancouver for the seventh seed in the Western Conference.

Dan Ellis started the game between the pipes, but was pulled after two periods as he gave up four goals on 18 shots. Chris Mason finished the game in net and gave up two goals on 11 shots.

The Predators made a pair of minor trades before the deadline, as they acquired forwards Jan Hlavac and Brandon Bochenski.

Hlavac came from Tampa Bay for a 2008 seventh-round draft choice and Bochenski was acquired from Anaheim for future considerations. Hlavac has nine goals and 13 assists in 62 games this year, while Bochenski has 23 goals and 28 assists in 113 career NHL games. Bochenski is playing for his third team of the year as he began the season with Boston before getting traded to Anaheim in early January.

Tonight's outing marks the first of a season-high six-game road trip for the Predators, who are just 12-14-4 as the visiting club this year. Nashville has dropped four of its last five games away from the Music City.

Nashville is 5-3 with a tie over the last nine encounters with the Sabres and is 3-0 with a tie in four all-time stops at HSBC Arena. Tonight's test marks the Predators' first game in Buffalo since notching a 5-1 triumph on January 27, 2003.

02/27 10:40:34 ET

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