NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Sunday, January 12th
(All times Eastern)
Buffalo Sabres (12-26-5) at Washington Capitals (22-16-6), 3 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - Ryan Miller and the Buffalo Sabres took just about
everything the Washington Capitals had the last time the clubs met and came
away with a shootout victory.
The Sabres try to knock off the Capitals again on Sunday afternoon and snap an
11-game road losing streak in the process.
Buffalo hosted Washington on Dec. 29 and was outshot 50-17 in the game, but
Miller helped the Sabres steal a 2-1 shootout win. The netminder had 49 saves
through overtime and stopped all six skaters faced in the tiebreaker.
Steve Ott had the shootout winner for the Sabres, who had lost all three of
their games versus the Capitals last season.
Philipp Grubauer got the start in net that day for the Capitals and only had
to make 16 saves through 65 minutes, but couldn't handle Ott's blast over his
Miller is 14-11-0 with a 2.51 goals against average and three shutouts in his
career versus the Capitals and is likely to start today.
Buffalo's win over Washington was part of a five-game home winning streak that
was snapped on Thursday with a 2-1 shootout setback to the Florida Panthers.
Jhonas Enroth got the start in net and had 34 saves through overtime and then
stopped the first two skaters he faced in the shootout. That includes a
second-round stop on Jonathan Huberdeau after it was ruled the Panther skater
pushed Enroth into the net as the puck crossed the goal line.
Brad Boyes, though, fired a shot in the next round that hit off the post and
then bounced off the back of Enroth for the deciding tally.
"I don't know if it's bad luck. He's one of the best in the league in
shootouts and it's pretty much impossible to stop him in the shootout. It's a
great shot. I've got to give it to him," said Enroth.
Jamie McBain scored the only goal in regulation for the Sabres, who were
without defenseman Tyler Myers as he served the opener of a three-game
suspension for an illegal hit in last Saturday's win over New Jersey.
Buffalo has scored two goals or fewer in five straight and will try to
increase that production and win on the road for the first time since Nov. 5
in San Jose. The Sabres are 0-9-2 as the guest since and 3-14-2 overall on the
road this season.
They are expected to have both Cody Hodgson and Ville Leino in the lineup
today. Both forwards practiced on Sunday, with Hodgson set to return after
missing eight straight with an upper-body injury. Leino has missed the past
three contests with a lower-body ailment.
Washington has won seven of its past eight at home versus Buffalo and picked
up its second straight win overall with Friday's 3-2 decision over the Toronto
Maple Leafs. The Capitals had gone 0-2-2 before winning consecutive games for
the first time since a three-game win streak from Dec. 7-10.
Alex Ovechkin had a goal and an assist, while Joel Ward notched the game-
winner in the third period. Nicklas Backstrom added a tally and Michal
Neuvirth made 32 saves in his first start since Nov. 22.
"We felt good out there tonight," said Ovechkin. "(Thursday) night's game (a
4-3 victory at Tampa Bay) was fun and it's really important for us to get
these points right now. We're fighting for a spot and we need to get on a roll
before the Olympics."
Washington is 6-2-2 in its last eight home games.
Ovechkin leads the NHL with 32 goals, reaching the mark in 42 games. He scored
32 goals in 48 contests during last season's lockout-shortened schedule.
The Caps continue to carry three goaltenders on their roster in Braden Holtby,
Grubauer and Neuvirth. It is unknown who will start today.
01/12 10:28:17 ET