Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Season Outlook: Buffalo Sabres vs. Washington Capitals

The Washington Capitals and Buffalo Sabres will face each other times this season, with the first meeting coming on December 29 in Buffalo. The teams will face each other in Washington on January 12, then meet again in Buffalo just 16 days later to close out the season series.

The Washington Capitals’ biggest addition this offseason is forward Mikhail Grabovski from the Toronto Maple Leafs. Grabovski, who used to be property of the Montreal Canadiens prior to his time in Toronto, joins the Capitals squad of Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, and it’ll be interesting to see him face Buffalo away from his Leafs teammates.

The Capitals also signed David Leggio, who has played a major goaltending role for the Rochester Americans the past few years but wasn’t signed by Darcy Regier this offseason. Leggio will likely end up in Hershey, but I’d be curious to see what he’d be able to do in the NHL. Among the Capitals’ losses: Matt Hendricks, Joey Crabb and Mike Ribeiro.

Last season was rough for the Buffalo Sabres when facing the Washington Capitals, since the Caps took all three meetings. Ouch. First up was a meeting on January 27, a 3-2 win for the Capitals that gave Adam Oates his first win as Washington coach. In no surprise, Alex Ovechkin scored, while Joel Ward and Jason Chimera had a pair of points each. Michael Neuvirth had 23 saves for the Capitals, while Ryan Miller made 28 saves for Buffalo. Goals for the Sabres came from Tyler Ennis and Marcus Foligno, but it simply wasn’t enough with the missing Thomas Vanek, as the Sabres lost their third consecutive game.

Next up was a 5-3 Sabres loss on March 17. Ovechkin had a goal – again!! – while Marcus Johansson had a two-point night. In fact, six different players on the Capitals roster had a two-point night. Cody Hodgson had a pair of goals, while Brian Flynn also scored for Buffalo. Ryan Miller allowed five goals on 25 shots

Finally, the Capitals stole a 4-3 shootout win on March 30 after tying the game late in the third period on a goal from Mike Green. Ville Leino had a pair of goals, and Christian Ehrhoff also scored, but it wasn’t enough. Ovechkin, Troy Brouwer and Mike Green scored for the Capitals, while Ovechkin and Matt Hendricks both scored in the shootout. Jhonas Enroth had 35 saves in the loss, while Braden Holtby stopped 20 of 23 shots for Washington.

Players to Watch

  • WASHINGTON: If you think I’d start this with anyone other than Alex Ovechkin, you don’t know me very well. Ovechkin has 32 points in 30 games against the Buffalo Sabres, including 20 goals and 12 assists; he also has 55 penalty minutes against the Sabres, the most he has against any team in his NHL career, and 10 power play goals – so, hey, Sabres, you might want to watch this guy. Other than Ovechkin – because, yes, there are other players on the team – watch for Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Green and Brooks Laich. Backstrom has 21 points (8-13) in 22 games against the Sabres, while Green has 11 in 21. Finally, Brooks Laich has 10 points in 29 games against the Sabres.
  • BUFFALO: Defensemen Henrik Tallinder and Christian Ehrhoff each have seven points against the Capitals in their careers, in 12 and 31 games against the team, respectively. Tyler Ennis has seven points in eight games, and Thomas Vanek has 21 points in 28 games to lead the Buffalo Sabres team against Washington.

Meetings This Season

  • December 29 @ BUF
  • January 12 @ WSH
  • January 28 @ BUF

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Tags: Buffalo Sabres Washington Capitals

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