The Buffalo Sabres came out on top of the Nashville Predators 3-2 in a emotionally-charged game that involved young squads at both ends of the ice.
Both teams had five rookies in the line-up which is unusual at this stage of the season. Youngsters were key contributors for their teams.
Buffalo's first two goals came from rookies Luke Adam and Zack Kassian in the opening period to stake the Sabres to a 2-0 lead that held into the final period.
The Predators actually had three rookies on the ice for the opening puck drop. Anders Lindback, started in goal, Craig Smith was at a forward slot, while Roman Josi was on the opening defensive pairing.
Lindback stopped 11 of 14 Buffalo shots in a tough contest where he saw few shots coming in his direction. Smith scored the first Predator goal on the power play early in the third period to breath life into team.
Veterans took over for the final goals from each team as Tyler Ennis and David Legwand each scored late in the third to bring the game to the final 3-2 score.
The game was marred by a controversial play at 15:54 in the second period when contact was made between the Predators' Jordin Tootoo and Sabres goalie Ryan Miller and an all out brawl ensued which resulted in game misconducts for Tootoo and Buffalo's Paul Gaustad.
One Predator rookie that played his first game back in Nashville after playing 15 games with the Predators last season was Chris Mueller. "I'm excited and glad to get back with the boys. Obviously, I thought we played well enough to win but couldn't get enough pucks past Miller but I thought we deserved to win this game."
Mueller had worked hard to make a return to the Preds, "Getting a taste of it last year and getting confidence and playing well down there (Milwaukee) gave me a chance to come back up and hopefully pick up where I left off last year and get the coaches and teammates confidence and keep going from here."
Playing 9:33, Mueller was out in several key situations, "The coach had trust in me to try to get us a goal with me, Hally, and Spalsey down low so hopefully we can continue that and get one to go in."
Mueller grew up in the Buffalo suburb of West Seneca, New York. "It's always a special incentive to play against my hometown team that I grew up watching and idolizing guys like like Pat LaFontaine so it was a pretty special night for me."
Barry Trotz discussed the Predators' youth. "Yes, we are very young and it shows at times. The third goal was inexperience on our part."
Ryan Suter addressed the youth on the ice. "It is (unusual). When you play Detroit they have maybe one, or none so it is unusual. That's where this organization is right now and they are doing a good job."
Buddy Oakes for PredsOntheGlass