Jan 14, 2014; Buffalo, NY, USA; Buffalo Sabres goalie Jhonas Enroth (1) after losing the game against the Philadelphia Flyers at First Niagara Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo Sabres PreGame Skate #52: Washington Capitals

Buffalo, dropping 3-0 to the Penguins last night, continue on to part 2 of their early week back to back games, tonight’s opponent, the Washington Capitals.

Jan 27, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Buffalo Sabres head coach Ted Nolan (right) looks on as assistant coach Joe Sacco (left) points down the bench during the third period against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Consol Energy Center. Penguins beat the Sabres 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Head coach Ted Nolan was very unpleased with the efforts in the second period from last night, stating, “We’re a team that we can’t have glaring mistakes. It’s very demoralizing,” he said. “I think it demoralized us for a little bit. We woke up in the third period, we made a push, but not good enough.” Expect that the team will be a little more woken up tonight as they try and take all three games from Washington this season.

Tonights game marks the third and final meeting of this season between Washington and Buffalo. The teams have met twice this season already, both a 2-1 Buffalo victory, both coming in the shootout. Interesting fact, in the last three games against the Capitals (counting last season), all of the decisions have come from the shootout.

Both teams have been riding the struggle bus for the past 10 games, Buffalo sits with a 3-4-3 record while Washington is slumping with a 3-5-2 record as of late. But, in their last 10 games against the Capitals, Buffalo holds a very good 5-3-2 record against the nations capital team.

Tonights starting goaltender is Jhonas Enroth. With Ryan Miller starting in 4 of the last 5 games, it was obvious we would see a change in net and Jhonas Enroth is itching to earn his second win of the season. This comes as no surprise, in order to give Miller a bit of rest before the Olympic break and give Jhonas some action prior to the break.

After being shutout, the Sabres remain the lowest scoring team in the NHL, dropping even further back behind Calgary in the scoring column. Washington is in the middle of the pack at 15th in scoring with 148 goals, dealing with only scoring 18 goals in the past 8 games, counting their five-goal game this past Saturday.

Cody Hodgson, since returning from his hand injury, has had 8 points in as many games for Buffalo, scoring four goals and four assists since his reinsertion into the lineup. On Washington’s side, John Carlson has lit the lamp twice in the past five games, giving some offensive presence in their time of need.

Injuries have taken from both teams, Drew Stafford remains a wildcard for today’s game, while Matt D’Agostini and Cody McCormick have been on IR. For Washington, Mikhail Grabovski has been ruled out, and defenseman Jack Hillen is still working back from a fractured left leg.

Some food for thought:

  • Since no scoring took place last night, Cody Hodgson remains the Buffalo Sabres leading point scorer with 27, that is opposed by the great Alex Ovechkin‘s 51 points
  • If the game goes to overtime or a shootout, Buffalo will have taken points in five straight games against Washington for the first time since March 31, 1991 to Jan. 27, 1994.

Hopefully, Buffalo can avoid being shut down for the second straight game, we give Jhonas a bit of offensive support, and we can walk away from the game with a win or at least a point!

Puck drop is at 7:30 PM, check back on Sabrenoise.com for more up to date Sabres news!


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