Sabres Head To Washington For Pivotal Game vs Capitals

@ 7:00 PM

Last Game:

Washington: Mar 25 vs. Wild Win 3-0

Buffalo: Mar 24 vs. Wild Win 3-1

Record:

Washington: 38-30-8

Buffalo: 37-29-10

Points:

Washington: 84

Buffalo: 84

Rank In Conference:

Washington: 8th

Buffalo: 9th

Power Play Ranking:

Washington: 17.5(4th)

Buffalo: 16.8(T-18th)

Penalty Kill Ranking:

Washington: 81.0(21st)

Buffalo: 82.2(T-14th)

Goals For:

Washington: 203(11th)

Buffalo: 190(23rd)

Goals Against:

Washington: 210(21st)

Buffalo: 203(19th)

Shots For:

Washington: 2120(22nd)

Buffalo: 2207(18th)

Shots Against:

Washington: 2285(17th)

Buffalo: 2363(26th)

Blocked Shots:

Washington: 1202(5th)

Buffalo: 982(22nd)

Hits:

Washington: 1822(10th)

Buffalo: 1393(30th)

Faceoff Percentage:

Washington: 49.9(17th)

Buffalo: 49.4(19th)

Team Leaders:

Goals:

Washington: Ovechkin(36), Chimera(19), Semin and Brouwer(18), Laich(15)

Buffalo: Pominville(28), Vanek(24), Hodgson(19), Stafford(17)

Assists:

Washington: Wideman(35), Semin(30), Johansson and N. Backstrom(29), Ovechkin(25)

Buffalo: Pominville(39), Vanek(31), Stafford(28), Ehrhoff(27)

Points:

Washington: Ovechkin(61), Semin(48), Wideman(45), Johansson and N. Backstrom(42)

Buffalo: Pominville(67), Vanek(55), Stafford(45), Roy(41)

Plus/Minus:

Washington: J. Ward(+12), Alzner, Semin, and Hamrlik(+9), Perreault(+8), Chimera(+4)

Buffalo: Ennis(+12), Sulzer(+8), Foligno and Stafford(+7), Hodgson and Sekera(+5)

Penalty Minutes:

Washington: Hendricks(89), Brouwer(59), Chimera(56), Semin(52)

Buffalo: Kaleta(114), Weber(58), McCormick(56), Roy(52)

Shots:

Washington: Ovechkin(280), Chimera(194), Laich(178), Semin(167)

Buffalo: Pominville(214), Stafford(207), Vanek(189), Roy(162)

Blocked Shots:

Washington: Carlson(142), Hamrlik(139), Alzner(132), Wideman(119)

Buffalo: Leopold(115), Regehr(94), Sekera(87), Ehrhoff(81)

Hits:

Washington: Brouwer(231), Hendricks(201), Ovechkin(199), Chimera(129)

Buffalo: Regehr(159), Kaleta(129), Weber(117), Stafford(98)

Face-Off Wins:

Washington: Laich(633), Halpern(365), N. Backstrom(319), Johansson(306)

Buffalo: Roy(617), Hodgson(278), Pominville(177), Hecht(136)

Today’s Starting Goaltender Matchup:

Washington: Braden Holtby 2-1-1 2.21 GAA .927 SV% 1 SO

Buffalo:  Ryan Miller 29-18-7 2.48 GAA .917 SV% 6 SO

Notes:

Last Meeting: Dec 30 Capitals Won 3-1

Season Series: Sabres Lead 2-1-0

All-Time: Sabres Lead 82-41-16

All-Time at WSH: Sabres Lead 38-21-10

Caps inch closer with 3-0 win over Wild

Alex Ovechkin continued his recent resurgence with his ninth goal in seven games, and the Washington Capitals pulled back into the final Eastern Conference playoff spot with a 3-0 victory against the Minnesota Wild at the Verizon Center on Sunday.

Jason Chimera and Mathieu Perrault also scored, and Braden Holtby made 28 saves in his fourth start of the season as the Capitals broke a two-game skid to move back into a tie on points with the Buffalo Sabres, with Washington holding the tiebreaker.

The Capitals and Sabres, both with just six games remaining in the regular season, meet in Washington on Tuesday night.

“Every guy in the room is paying attention to what is going on around the League right now,” Caps forward Mike Knuble said. “It felt good to vindicate ourselves. We showed up today for a game that was a must-win and we won it, so we leave here happy.”

Looking again like the player who twice won League MVP, Ovechkin was influential throughout the game, highlighted from his blast from the left circle in the third period for Washington’s third goal. He led the Capitals in ice time and had a superb shift during a second-period power play, hustling back to his own end to break up a shorthanded odd-man rush and then supplying the secondary assist on Perrault’s goal that made it 2-0.

Ovechkin has 36 goals on the season, having recently pass his career-low from last season, but he’s still on pace for a career-low in points. He has 61, well below last season’s mark of 85.

“I played him a lot with one less forward,” Caps coach Dale Hunter said of Ovechkin. “But I watched on the bench and he seemed fresh every time I put him on, so he had good jump tonight and he showed it on the ice.”

Recent call-up Holtby, sharing time with Michal Neuvirth while Tomas Vokoun recovers from a groin injury, started for the third time in four games and shut down the NHL’s lowest- scoring team for his third career shutout. His point-blank save on Devin Setoguchi in the first period helped set the tone for the Capitals, who needed to re-establish momentum after blowing a 3-0 lead in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Friday night.

http://www.nhl.com/ice/recap.htm?id=2011021128&navid=sb:recap

Surging Sabres beat Wild to grab 8th in East

For the first time in 96 days, the Buffalo Sabres will go to bed among the top eight in the Eastern Conference.

The surging Sabres moved into the final playoff spot in the East by beating the Minnesota Wild 3-1 on Saturday night before a packed house at First Niagara Center. The win gives Buffalo 84 points, two more than Washington. Ironically, the Sabres will be rooting for the Wild on Sunday — Minnesota continues its road trip with a game against the Capitals.

The Sabres have won four in a row. They are 7-1-2 in their last 10, and 18-5-5 in their last 28 games since a 4-2 loss in St. Louis on Jan. 21. They are 6-0-2 since their last regulation loss, a 3-1 setback in Boston on March 8.

Rookie Marcus Foligno, whose scoring has given the Sabres a big offensive boost, broke a 1-1 tie with a power-play goal 1:45 into the third period.

Sabres coach Lindy Ruff knows there’s still plenty of work left in his team’s  last six games, starting with a showdown against the Caps on Tuesday in Washington.

“We’ve got an opportunity to take a breather, get the guys some rest,” Ruff said. “(Sunday) will be a day off. I told them to get their minds off hockey and get some rest. Our next one coming up is a big one. But we’ll deal with that come Monday. We play one game in the next four days, and should be an opportunity to freshen up for this last little stretch drive.”

Minnesota led 1-0 after the first period on a goal by Steven Kampfer, but Buffalo tied it 1:12 into the second on some hard work in the corner by rookie Corey Tropp, who hit Minnesota defenseman Nate Prosser to spring the puck loose to Cody Hodgson.

Josh Harding stopped Hodgson’s shot, but Thomas Vanek fought through the crowd in front to backhand the puck into the right side of the net.

“Our goal going into the second period was to get pucks behind them, get in there and get a little bit dirty and finish your checks,” Tropp said. “That’s how we were able to generate that first goal, and momentum kind of carried from there.”

http://www.nhl.com/ice/recap.htm?id=2011021118&navid=sb:recap

This Day In Sabres History:

March 27, 1980 Gare gets to 50 goal mark for second time in his career in Sabres 6-1 victory over the Red Wings

On This Day 32 Years Ago Danny Gare would get to the 50 goal mark for the 2nd time in his career in a Sabres 6-1 victory over the Red Wings. Gare would only play one more season with the Sabres after his 56 goal campaign in 1979-1980. Gare would not get to the fifty goal mark again in his final 8 seasons in the league. Gare would go down as one of the Sabres greatest goal scorers in history. He is in the Sabres Hall of Fame and had his number 18 retired in 2005. In 8 seasons with the Sabres Gare totaled 503 Career Games, 500 Points(267 G, 233 A), and 686 PIM. In 1981-1982 Gare was traded to the Detroit Red Wings along with Jim Schoenfeld and Derek Smith for Mike Foligno, Dale McCourt, and Brent Peterson.

Injury Report:

Washington: Poti Strained Groin(IR/Out), N. Backstrom Concussion(IR/Out), Vokoun Strained Groin(Doubtful), Ward Lower Body(Questionable), Erskine Lower Body(Questionable)

Buffalo: Hecht Concussion(IR/Out), Ellis Knee(Out), Kaleta Upper Body(Questionable), Gerbe Upper Body(Questionable)

Next 5 Games:

Mar 30 vs. Pittsburgh Penguins 7:30 PM(MSG HD)

Mar 31 at Toronto Maple Leafs 7:00 PM(MSG HD/CBC HD)

Apr 3 vs. Toronto Maple Leafs 7:00 PM(MSG HD)

Apr 5 at Philadelphia Flyers 7:00 PM(MSG HD)

Apr 7 at Boston Bruins 3:00 PM(NBC HD)

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