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Sabres host Capitals in rare afternoon showdown

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The Buffalo Sabres will play host to the Washington Capitals and league leading goal scorer Alex Ovechkin on Sunday afternoon at the First Niagara Center. The Sabres will have their hands full with the Capitals high-powered offense (7th in goals per game and 1st on the power play).

Not only do the Capitals have Ovechkin (30 goals, 11 assists) they also have Nicklas Backstrom (10 goals, 34 assists), who is having an all-star season to this point.

The Sabres are coming off a disappointing 4-3 shootout loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday night. After losing their two-goal advantage, and falling behind 3-2 after the second period to the Leafs, the Sabres fought back to send the game into overtime with Steve Ott’s 5th of the year with only 25 seconds remaining in regulation. Unable to get anything passed Toronto goalie Jonathan Bernier in the overtime session or in the shootout, the Sabres failed to come away with the bonus point.

Even though Friday’s loss was disappointing for the Sabres, their play continues to show improvement. In Buffalo’s last six games, the team has picked up at least one point in five of them. With the modest collection of points gathered by the club over the past couple of weeks, the Sabres find themselves five points behind both the NY Islanders and the Edmonton Oilers and more importantly, finally crawling out of the basement of the NHL standings.

Riding the coat tails of Ovechkin and Backstrom, the Washington Capitals (20-14-4) find themselves in second place of the Metropolitan Division, 13 points behind the conference leading Pittsburgh Penguins. The Capitals are coming off a 3-2 victory over the NY Rangers Friday night at the Verizon Center in D.C.

Sunday afternoon’s contest will be the first of three meetings this year between the two clubs. Last year, the Capitals took all three games from the Sabres.

Puck drop is scheduled for 5:05 p.m. and can be seen on MSG.

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