(SportsNetwork.com) - The Nashville Predators look to win for the first time in their past seven home games on Thursday night as they take on the basement- dwelling Buffalo Sabres.
The Predators have not won at home since Feb. 27, dropping five straight in regulation before Tuesday's 5-4 shootout setback to the Colorado Avalanche. Nashville failed to hold a number of leads in the game, including two in the third period.
Nashville's current rut at home has contributed to the club falling nine points back of a playoff spot with nine games to play.
Matt Cullen and Roman Josi both had two goals for the Predators, who fell to 15-17-5 at home on the season and have lost four of their last six overall. Pekka Rinne made 24 saves.
"We didn't make strong plays when we had those leads," said Nashville head coach Barry Trotz.
Forward Calle Jarnkrok, who the Predators acquired from the Detroit Red Wings prior to the trade deadline for David Legwand, notched an assist in the loss and has a helper in each of his first three NHL games.
But while Jarnkrok is seeking to get comfortable with Nashville, rookie defenseman Seth Jones missed his first game of the season due to concussion- like symptoms.
While Nashville's playoff chances are fading, the Sabres have known for a while they will not be playing postseason hockey. They are last in the NHL with 48 points and have lost nine of their last 10 games.
Buffalo was shut out for the 10th time this season with Tuesday's 2-0 setback to the Montreal Canadiens. The Sabres fell to 8-24-3 on the road this season as well.
Matt Hackett, making just his second start of the season, stopped 33 shots in a tough-luck loss that dropped the Sabres to 1-3-0 on a five-game swing.
"We battled really hard," Buffalo defenseman Christian Ehrhoff said. "We were in the game most of the time."
Hackett is expected to make his 11th career start tonight and first versus the Predators as Buffalo netminders Jhonas Enroth and Michal Neuvirth both remain out with lower-body injuries.
Forward Torrey Mitchell also is likely out for tonight with an undisclosed injury, while Tyler Myers is questionable after missing practice on Wednesday.
Myers returned on Tuesday from a five-game absence caused by an elbow issue and left the game briefly in the third period after crashing into the post.
The Sabres lost a 4-1 decision at home to the Predators on March 11, but have won their last three trips to Nashville.
Buffalo has not lost in the Music City since Nov. 29, 2003, but is likely to go up against Rinne tonight and he is 1-1-0 lifetime versus the Sabres with a 0.50 goals against average and one shutout.