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.
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.”
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