Washington Capitals-Buffalo Sabres Preview: Two Games Remain in Season Series

Photo: Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images

The Washington Capitals start a quick two-game road trip on Friday clashing with the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center (7 PM ET, NBC Sports Washington+) before stopping in Boston to take on the Bruins again Sunday night. Washington will conclude their season series against Buffalo on April 15 as they host the Sabres on Thursday (7 PM ET, NBC Sports Washington). The Capitals lead the season series 5-1 with the most recent win on March 15, a 6-0 shutout victory on the road.

Capitals

Last Game: 4-2 loss to the Boston Bruins at Capital One Arena on Thursday

Standings: 25-11-4 (54 points) | second in the MassMutual East Division, 7th overall

Goal Leader: Captain Alex Ovechkin (20)

Assist Leader: Center Nicklas Backstrom (27)

Point Leader: Backstrom (40)

Goaltenders: Vitek Vanecek is likely to be in net for Washington. The 25-year-old has gone 15-7-3 in twenty-six games. Vanecek has 2.64 goals-against average, a.911 save-percentage, and one shutout. Ilya Samsonov, who has gone 9-3-1 in thirteen starts this season, has 2.97 goals-against average, a .894 save percentage, and one shutout.

Power-Play: 24.3% (7th) | Forward T.J. Oshie leads with eight power-play goals.

Penalty Kill: 82.6% (8th) | Forward Tom Wilson leads with 47 penalty minutes.

Essential Notes: Washington has a 5-5-0 record in their last ten games. The Capitals are looking to snap a two-game losing streak after falling to the New York Islanders on Tuesday and Bruins on Thursday. Defenseman John Carlson said after the loss to Boston that it’s “never easy in back-to-back games, but we need to start bouncing back,” adding, “There is not much real estate left in the season, so these games mean a lot no matter who we play.”


Sabres

Last Game: 6-3 loss to the New Jersey Devils at KeyBank Center on Thursday

Standings: 9-24-6 (24 points) | eighth in the MassMutual East Division, 31st overall

Goal Leader: Forward Sam Reinhart (13)

Assist Leader: Forward Taylor Hall (17)

Point Leader: Reinhart (25)

Goaltenders: Linus Ullmark is likely to be in net for Buffalo. The 27-year-old has gone 8-6-3 in eighteen games. Ullmark has 2.62 goals-against average and a .916 save percentage.

Power-Play: 22.9% (11th) | Reinhart and forward Victor Olofsson lead with six power-play goals each.

Penalty Kill: 78.1% (20th) | Defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen leads with 26 penalty minutes.

Essential Notes: Buffalo has a 3-5-2 record in their last ten games. The remaining 14 out of 17 games for the Sabres will be a challenge as they face the top four teams in the East (Islanders, Capitals, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Bruins). Interim Head Coach Don Granato said, “That’s the challenge we have to embrace,’ adding, “It will make us better…a better team for the future, better players for the future if we embrace that challenge.” Additionally, Olofsson will play his 100th career NHL game tonight.

By Della Young

About Della Young

Della Young is a fiction writer based out of the Northern Virginia/Washington, D.C. area and an online student attending Full Sail University. She got her start in the entertainment industry at age seven as an actress. At the young age of nine, Della wrote a psychological thriller short story that sparked her interest in creative writing. She comes from a family of big Capitals fans and became inspired to start writing for sports. In her spare time, Della enjoys photography, traveling, and working on both sides of the camera. Follow Della on Twitter: @dellayoung
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