Preds Meet Sabres
By Buddy Oakes
It is still early in the season, but after Calgary lost to Dallas last night, the Predators stand as the only Western Conference team without a loss.
The Preds put their meagre streak on the line tonight against the Buffalo Sabres, who so far have a win and an OTL.
The Predators hope that the home cooking of Sommet Center works its magic again tonight. Since 2005-06, the Predators have the third most home wins of any NHL team with 109. Only Detroit and Calgary have more.
In the Sabres' last game, they defeated the Phoenix Coyotes 2-1. This will be Buffalo's first game away from home this season.The Predators are an all-time 6-4-1 against Buffalo. They last faced the Sabres December 1, 2008 at the RSBC Arena, when the Preds won 2-0 in Pekka Rinne's first career shutout.
The Sabres have not played in Nashville since 2006.
Pekka Rinne will get his first start in net for the Predators, while Buffalo will counter with potential team USA goalie, Ryan Miller (1-0-1, 1.46, .927).
In another odd match up, Buffalo's Lindy Ruff and the Preds' Barry Trotz are the coaches with the longest tenure in the NHL. Ruff has coached 904 games, while Trotz has 822. Trotz also holds the record for most games coached from the beginning of a franchise.
Early season surprise, Patric Hornqvist, who has two goals and two assists, was the last pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Hornqvist is only the ninth player to make it to the NHL since 1969, after being picked last in the draft.
The Predators expect Joel Ward to see his first action this year, after sitting out the first two games with a groin injury. J. P. Dumont, Jordin Tootoo and Colin Wilson continue to be out of the lineup with injuries.
The Tennessean's John Glennon reports that Triston Grant, who made his Preds debut on Thursday in an emergency call-up, remains with the team and may play again tonight despite Ward's return.
After Saturday night's game, the schedule does not get any easier for the Predators. They play Edmonton at home on Monday, travel back to Dallas on Wednesday, face Chicago at home on Thursday, and then head to D.C. to play the Capitals next Saturday night.