Washington Capitals (12-4-0) v. Buffalo Sabres (5-9-3)
7:00 PM EST – HSBC Arena – Buffalo, New York
TV/Radio: CSN-DC; Caps Radio 1500
Last game: In the first of six Southeast showdowns against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Capitals came to play and won their sixth straight game in a 6-3 victory. Alexander Semin had his second hat trick of the season and also added two assists. His line, including Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, combined for 12 points (4G-8A).
Possible lineup for Washington:
Possible lineup for Buffalo: N/A
Outlook: The Caps will put their 8-1-0 home record on hold and make a return trip to New York to face the reeling Sabres, who have no home wins to speak of (0-6-1). There isn’t a game that features more polar opposites than the Capitals and Sabres. Washington leads the league with 3.56 G/G, while Buffalo sits at 22nd with 2.47 G/G. The Caps boast the seventh most proficient power play, the Sabres 25th. The Capitals have are in the midst of a six-game winning streak and the Sabres haven’t won more than two straight. Even with all of these statistics in mind, the Sabres always give the Caps a hard time and there would be no better way to make a statement than for Buffalo to earn its first home win against the NHL’s best team.
The chemistry among the line of Ovechkin, Backstrom and Semin has been electric. The trio has combined for 22 points in the last four games.
Though Buffalo’s season hasn’t started off well, there have been some bright spots. The Sabres are getting production from several players, including Derek Roy (18 points), Tyler Ennis (1o points), Jordan Leopold (10 points). Also, Thomas Vanek, Tim Connolly, Drew Stafford and Tyler Myers each have four goals. Goalie Ryan Miller will return Saturday after sitting out six games with a lower body injury. Jhonas Enroth, who has started the past three games for Buffalo, has filled in adequately, going 2-0-1 on a recent road trip. Captain Craig Rivet will not play as he recovers from the flu.