⏰ 1 p.m. ?MSG ? WGR550
The Buffalo Sabres come home after an unsuccessful road swing that saw them go winless in four games, to play a matinee with the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Washington Capitals.
The Capitals come into KeyBank Center riding a two-game win streak, and look to get an offensive boost from newly acquired winger Carl Hagelin.
The Sabres meanwhile, are falling quickly in the Eastern Conference standings and need to string together some wins to have any hope of the postseason.
This is the third and final meeting between these two teams this season. The Sabres have dropped both contests thus far and carry an 0-1-1 record against the Caps. (One shootout loss as well) Both of those games were played in Washington.
Buffalo is coming off of a slightly encouraging 2-1 shootout loss in Tampa Bay. Though the overall road swing was very difficult, as the Sabres come home going 0-3-1 during that span. Scoring has been an issue, as they’ve only mustered six goals during those contests.
In trying to boost their offensive game the Sabres recalled both Danny O’Regan and Scott Wilson from Rochester earlier on Friday.
Wilson has yet to play for the Sabres this season after suffering an ankle injury in the preseason.
O’Regan figures to see some time with the big club, as he is an expiring UFA at the end of the season. It may be wise to see if and how he fits in with the big team moving forward, given his AHL success this year. (34 points in 53 games thus far) The Sabres also put Kyle Okposo on injured reserve with a concussion.
The Capitals have won six of their last nine contests and look to continue their solid play this afternoon. The introduction of Hagelin figures to play a large role as the Caps move forward looking to defend their title. Hagelin is a playoff veteran who will slot into the bottom six to start his Washington career.
Alex Ovechkin has been rounding into playoff form of late, notching 18 points in his last 12 games, 10 of those points being goals. In 47 games against the Sabres, Ovechkin has scored 31 goals, so he’s demonstrated his ability to fill the nets against Buffalo.
After a tremendous 39 save shoot-out loss, Carter Hutton will man the pipes for Buffalo this afternoon. Hutton has been a bit cold of late, but perhaps the Lightning game will rekindle his confidence. For his career, Hutton has played eight games against Washington and owns a 2-3-2 record, including a no-decision as well.
Braden Holtby is set to start for Washington. Holtby has alternated wins and losses over his last four starts but put in a tremendous effort making 40 saves on 42 shots in a win against Toronto. Holtby has faced the Sabres 13 times in his career and owns a respectable 9-3-1 mark.