The Predators jumped out to a 3-1 lead against the Buffalo Sabres
on Tuesday and held on for a 4-1 win. On Monday, the Predators lost
a 3-0 lead against Ottawa, but managed to win 4-3 in overtime.
"We weren't going to let that happen two games in a row," Nashville
center Colin Wilson said.
Center Craig Smith and defenseman Shea Weber scored second-period
goals for the Predators (28-28-10), who won back-to-back games for
the first time since losing seven of eight games from Feb. 1-March
8. Left winger Nick Spaling and center Paul Gaustad also scored for
"We managed it the right way," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said.
"(Monday) night we cheated in a couple areas. We managed the puck
better. We exited better. All those type of things were much better
Goaltender Carter Hutton was terrific between the pipes for
Nashville and made 24 saves.
"Keeping that two-goal lead going into the third was pretty huge for
us," Hutton said. "After last night, we gave up three in the third
but we knew tonight we were going to lock it down and play our
Right winger Drew Stafford scored for the Sabres (19-38-8), who lost
their third game in a row. Goalie Jhonas Enroth made 20 saves.
"I think we didn't battle that hard," Enroth said. "We've got to
The final stretch of the season only gets more difficult for the
struggling Sabres, who traded three of their top players prior to
the trade deadline (Ryan Miller, Steve Ott and Matt Moulson), have
lost three games in a row and play 12 of their final 17 games on the
"I talked to them, their confidence is a little bit rattled right
now," Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan said. "But through tough times
like this you find out true character of certain players and through
some ashes sometimes there rises some people."
On Tuesday, the Sabres had only one productive line on offense — featuring Stafford, left winger Cory Conacher and center Tyler Ennis — and struggled to create chances in the opposing end.
"There was only one line basically going," Nolan said. "You're not
going to win too many games doing that."
Stafford, playing in his 500th career game, got the Sabres on the
board 2:09 into the first by finishing a rebound opportunity inside
the Predators crease. Following a shot from center Cody Hodgson,
Stafford put home his 12th goal of the season. The right winger now
has 14 points (eight goals, six assists) in his last 15 games.
Spaling evened the score with 2:51 remaining in the first by
deflecting a Weber shot on the power play. Weber's change-up shot
from the right crease caromed off Spaling's right skate and into the
net for his 13th goal of the season.
[to top of second column]
Nashville took a 2-1 lead 3:33 into the second on Weber's 16th of
the season. From the bottom of the left circle, Weber ripped a wrist
shot past Enroth high to the glove side.
Smith made it 3-1 four minutes later on a blast from the point
following some nice work from center Colin Wilson, who assisted on
the goal. It was Smith's team-best 20th goal of the year.
The Predators then did a great job of smothering any potential
scoring chances from the Sabres, who were stymied in the third
"The majority of their chances came in the second came in the
second," Hutton said. "In the third we really played good shut down.
They didn't have a lot of great looks, just throwing pucks at the
net. From there we kinda boxed out and battled."
"We were just making sure that we didn't give them anything to get
excited about," Trotz said.
Gaustad added an empty-netter with 1:31 remaining.
"We've been playing good hockey," said Gaustad, the former Sabre.
"We haven't been getting the results we wanted but we've been
playing really well as of late so it's nice to get rewarded for
NOTES: Buffalo scratched RW Chris Stewart (lower body), C Zemgus
Girgensons (lower body), C Torrey Mitchell (lower body) and D
Alexander Sulzer. Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan said earlier
Tuesday that Stewart, acquired shortly before the trade deadline as
part of the Ryan Miller trade, is likely out for the remainder of
the season. ... The Predators' scratches were RW Patrick Eaves and D
Victor Bartley. ... Predators C Paul Gaustad played his first game
in Buffalo against his former team since being traded to Nashville
in February 2012. ... The teams last played against each other on
Dec. 3, 2011, a 3-2 Buffalo win in Nashville.
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