Game Preview: Capitals @ Sabres


The Capitals (15-7-3) and Sabres (10-10-6) meet up for the second time this week and the third time in 15 days. Friday night is the final meeting of the season between the two teams. Puck drop is at 7:00PM on CSN

After falling to Washington in overtime, the Sabres responded the next night with a 4-3 overtime win on home ice over the Oilers. Evander Kane tied the game with his second goal of the night with 29 seconds left and Rasmus Ristolainen provided the game-winner in the extra session while on the power play.

Kyle Okposo leads the Sabres with eight goals and 17 points. You can review complete stats for the Sabres here.

Special Teams:
One strength of this Sabres team is their power play, which is ranked third in the league with a 23% success rate. Their penalty kill is ranked 29th in the NHL at 75.6%, for a combined special teams index of 98.6.

Shots Fired:
The Sabres are in the middle of the league in shots per game at 29.8, good for 16th in the league averaging 2.08 goals per game.

Other Notes:
Jack Eichel has three goals in his first five games back. He returned to the lineup on Nov. 29 after being sidelined with a sprained ankle.

The Capitals are fifth in the Metropolitan Division with 33 points and sit just a point behind the Blue Jackets for fourth place, two points behind the Flyers for third place and four points behind the Rangers and Penguins for first place in the division. The Caps have two games in hand to the Penguins and three games in hand with the Rangers.


The Caps are riding a two-game winning streak with both wins coming in overtime at home, which started against this same Sabres team on Monday and continued Wednesday night over the Bruins. The Caps held a commanding 3-0 lead until Boston came back. Nicklas Backstrom’s goal in overtime sent the fans home happy. (Game Summary)

Special Teams:
captureThe Caps are ranked 23rd in the power play with just a 14.8% conversion rate. They are 15th on the PK with an 82.5% success rate, for a combined special teams index of 97.3.

The special teams index rating is the same as the combined rating following game #17, and has been basically consistent over the last 10 games played.

Shots Fired:
The Capitals are 11th in shots per game with 30.4. They were outshot 34-20 in their last game after squandering a 3-0 lead.

Other Notes:
Matt Niskanen won’t join the team in Buffalo due to an upper body injury he suffered late in the first period on a hit into the boards by Patrice Bergeron. The Capitals recalled Aaron Ness from Hershey.

Friday night marks the third and final meeting between the two teams this season. The Caps are 2-0-0 this season against the Sabres, having won both contests on home ice. Washington defeated Buffalo in their last meeting 3-2 in overtime on Monday.

Series Flashback:


  • Justin Williams scored two goals on Wednesday night, becoming the eighth Capitals player to register a multi-goal game this season.
  • Nicklas Backstrom scored the game-winning goal in overtime on Wednesday, marking his fifth career overtime goal and first since Nov. 8, 2014 against Carolina.
  • Alex Ovechkin is one power-play goal shy of becoming the 18th player in NHL history to score 200 power-play goals.


Caps Have Friday Night Date with Sabres in Buffalo (Mike Vogel)
Capitals know they can be better (NHL)
Defenseman Matt Niskanen won’t travel to Buffalo because of an upper-body injury (Washington Post)
POSTGAME NOTEBOOK: Caps 4, Bruins 3 (OT) (Mike Vogel)
Alex Ovechkin Featured in Papa John’s Commercial (CSN)
Game Notes at Buffalo, 12/9/16 (Capitals PR)

By Michael Marzzacco

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