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
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 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
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
02/27 10:40:34 ET