The Washington Capitals (26-6-2) and the Buffalo Sabres (15-16-4) will square off at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo on Monday night. The game will be the first between the two teams this season, and the first of two “home-and-home” games this week. Buffalo will be at Verizon Center on Wednesday night. Puck-drop for Monday nights tilt is 7:00 PM.
The Sabres are coming off a 6-3 victory over the Bruins on Saturday night. Trailing 3-1, the Sabres scored five goals in the third period for the comeback win in Boston. Center Ryan O’Reilly currently leads the Sabres in goals (14) and assists (18), with 32 points.
Both Matt Moulson and Evander Kane missed practice on Sunday. The Sabres are reporting that Moulson was out due to illness, and that Kane missed practice due to personal reasons. Possibly related, The Buffalo News reported that Kane was the subject of a sex offense investigation stemming from an event that allegedly occurred early Sunday morning in downtown Buffalo. The status for both Moulson and Kane for Monday nights game is unknown at this point.
The Caps came out of Saturday night’s game with the Montreal Canadiens a little banged-up. John Carlson and Alex Ovechkin both sustained upper body injuries in the game. Braden Holtby left practice on Sunday due to dehydration and cramps. Practice lines at morning skate on Monday in Buffalo:
John Carlson did not participate in the Monday morning skate. Carlson took a maintenance day on Sunday after getting banged-up in the Montreal game on Saturday night. Carlson has played in 412 consecutive games. As per Isabelle Khurshudyan, “with Carlson not at AM skate, Matt Niskanen is on PP1 and looks like Connor Carrick is at point of PP2. In addition “Karl Alzner seemed pretty confident Carlson is playing tonight”. Carlson, on the other hand was not so sure. As per Isabelle Khurshudyan, Carlson said he’s not sure if he’s playing. Something to the effect of, “We’ll see what happens.”
The Buffalo Sabres are 45-20-9 all-time at home versus the Washington Capitals. The last four matchups between the Sabres and Capitals have been decided in either overtime or via the shootout, however, the Capitals took two of three games from the Sabres last season.
Buffalo will be looking to reach the .500 plateau with a win over the Caps tonight. The Sabres have shown signs of improvement recently, going 4-1-1 in their last six games. Evander Kane participated in the Sabres morning skate on Monday, and looks like he will be ready to go for tonight’s game. Linus Ullmark was the first goalie off the ice for the Sabres this morning, and will get the start in net tonight.
The Caps will be looking to extend their seven game winning streak on Monday night. Braden Holtby will be in net for the Capitals.