BY: DAVID KOLB
BUFFALO SABRES (19-18-9) @ NASHVILLE PREDATORS (23-17-7)
FIRST OF TWO
Tonight the Sabres head to Nashville to face the Predators in the first of two games between the clubs this season, as the teams will close out the season series on Feb. 28 in Buffalo. The Sabres have won three of their past four games, including Saturday’s 3-2 overtime win vs. the Montreal Canadiens, and have begun to inch closer to a playoff spot. The Predators meanwhile, are red-hot, picking up wins in six of their past seven games after doubling up the Minnesota Wild 4-2 Sunday.
“With two more games before the break and the possibility of four more points, it’d be huge for us to go on the road here to Nashville and Dallas and get some points, get some wins and put ourselves even closer to that spot where we want to be.”
— Coach Dan Bylsma on the prospect of climbing closer to the playoffs before the All-Star Break.
Sabres’ center, Ryan O’Reilly picked up an assist on the game-tying goal, and then the game-winner in OT Saturday vs. Montreal. O’Reilly has nine assists and 11 points in January heading into tonight’s action, and four points (one goal, three assists) in his past two games. No. 90 has been excellent on the road, accumulating 18 points in 19 games, adding up to 29 points in 36 games played this season.
FORSBERG IS FLYING
Preds’ center, Filip Forsberg scored a pair of goals Sunday vs. the Wild, including the game-tying and go-ahead goal. Forsberg is scorching-hot having scored five goals and six points in his last six games and has the game-winning goal in three of the past five contests. In 47 games, the 22-year-old from Sweden has 14 goals and 17 assists for 31 points including six goals and eight points in January.
Sabres’ forward, Evander Kane tallied two assists in Saturday’s 3-2 overtime win vs. the Canadiens. Despite a slow start to the season, Kane is beginning to contribute more consistently and enters tonight’s tilt with 12 goals and 19 points while potting four goals and six points in January.