Nashville Predators vs. Buffalo Sabres Pick & Prediction MARCH 7th 2024

A few weeks ago, the Nashville Predators resided outside of a playoff spot and envisioned making roster moves for next season.

Rumors swirled about some of their players potentially getting traded, but now, things are different.

“What I’m finding out in this job is it changes daily,” Nashville general manager Barry Trotz told The Tennessean. “A couple weeks ago, I was saying it looks like we’re gonna be sellers unless we do something. Then we did something.”

The Predators responded to a 9-2 loss to the Dallas Stars on Feb. 15 by reeling off eight straight wins to move into a wild-card spot in the Western Conference. They extended their point streak to nine games with a 4-3 overtime loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday.

“It’s a test of adversity,” Nashville coach Andrew Brunette said after the game. “You’ve got to feel pretty good to get a point; could have been worse. I think we’re understanding the recipe for us to be good. We did a lot of good things early. There’s going to be games like this. This league’s hard and the margins are tiny a lot of nights. We lost a little bit of the margin battle tonight, and by a tiny amount.”

The team’s top line of Filip Forsberg, Ryan O’Reilly and Gustav Nyquist combined for seven points (three goals, four assists) in the loss to Montreal. Forsberg has been on a roll with nine points (four goals, five assists) during a six-game point streak, O’Reilly has seven points (three goals, four assists) during a five-game point streak, and Nyquist has 10 points (four goals, six assists) in his past six games.

Buffalo, meanwhile, will look to bounce back after a 2-1 overtime loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday. The game came a few hours after the Sabres traded leading scorer Casey Mittelstadt to Colorado Avalanche for defenseman Bowen Byram.

The tight-knit Sabres were sad to see Mittelstadt go, noting how loved he was in the locker room. But they’re equally excited by the addition of Byram, 22, who joins a youthful defense corps highlighted by Rasmus Dahlin, Owen Power, Henri Jokiharju and the injured Mattias Samuelsson.

“[Byram] is one of my best friends, so it’s a lot of mixed emotions,” said Dylan Cozens, who along with Peyton Krebs has known Byram since he was about 8 years old. “I love (Mittelstadt). I hung out with him lots. … He lives so close to me, so we’d just sit on the couch and just talk and hang out for hours. So obviously it hurts losing that relationship.

“But yeah, obviously it makes it easy for me knowing I’m getting one of my best friends in return and just a guy that’s I’ve always loved playing with, love being on the ice with. … It’s exciting.”

Byram will join the team in Nashville and will be paired with Dahlin, per coach Don Granato.

Goalie Eric Comrie is expected to start in goal for the Sabres on Thursday, his first start since Feb. 15 and only his second since being recalled from Rochester of the American Hockey League on Jan. 28. He is 1-6-0 with a 3.87 goals-against average and an .868 save percentage in eight appearances this season.

–Field Level Media

Docsports, The most trusted name in sports handicapping