Pregame Skate: Washington Capitals

Christmas is over, and the Buffalo Sabres hope that Santa Claus has answered their letters and left a win in their stockings.  If that win is going to come, its going to come at home against the Washington Capitals

Both teams are mired in a rut that has both teams on the outside of the top eight teams in the eastern conference.  The Washington Capitals are trying to recover from the Bruce Boudreau era, which saw a perennial powerhouse get knocked out of the playoffs early every year.  Dale Hunter is trying to change that mantra nad bring a Stanley Cup to the nations capital. 

The Buffalo Sabres spent boatloads of money this off season in player upgrades and arena upgrades in the hopes of breaking a 40 year drought of Stanley Cup hopes.  Injuries have decimated the Sabres chances so far this season. 

With injuries depleting the Sabres lineups so far this season, they are hoping that bringing back veterans Brad Boyes and Jochen Hecht tonight will bring the Sabres closer to a starting night lineup than they have seen since opening night.  With the addition of the two veterans, Rochester Americans hopeful Derek Whitmore will return to the farm in the hopes that he can crack an NHL roster again in the near future.

Ryan Miller is set to get the start tonight hoping to turn his poor season around thus far.  The former Vezina has a poor 3.44 goals against since returning from his concussion.  He has lost four of the last five meetings against the Washington Capitals.  The Sabres routed the Caps 5-1 in the game before Boudreau was fired, as the Capitals were allowing teams to skate around them and through them in the hopes of getting their bench boss fired. 

Washington is 5-4-1 in their last ten games, while the Buffalo squad has only won three games in their last ten contests. 

Despite nursing an injury, Sabres sniper and leading goal scorer made it through the pregame skate this morning and will be in the lineup tonight for the swords.   The Sabres are going to have to lock things up defensively if they are going to have any hopes of resurrecting their winning ways, now having allowed nine more goals than they have scored.

Tags: Brad Boyes Bruce Boudreau Buffalo Sabres Dale Hunter Washington Capitals Derek Whitmore Jochen Hecht Rochester Americans Ryan Miller Thomas Vanek

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