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Caps, Sabres clash in Buffalo
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Washington Capitals hope to record a second straight victory on Tuesday night when they visit a Buffalo Sabres team that is coming off yet another shutout defeat.
The Capitals halted an 0-5-2 rut, the last five in regulation, with a 5-0 blanking of the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday. Braden Holtby had 21 saves in his first victory since Dec. 7 and Alex Ovechkin scored his league-leading 36th goal of the season in his return to the lineup.
Holtby notched his second shutout of the season and ninth of his career as Washington halted its longest losing streak since an 0-6-2 slide from Dec. 2-18, 2010.
Ovechkin, who had missed the previous two games with a lower-body injury, added an assist after scoring the first tally of a four-goal second period. John Erskine, Casey Wellman, John Carlson and Jay Beagle all added goals.
Washington, which had scored just eight goals over its losing streak, went 0- for-8 on the power play, but the extended time on the man advantage allowed the club to control play.
"It's exciting to win in this building, especially after dominating the first period," said Ovechkin. "They took too many penalties and gave us a lot of shots on net."
Washington, which plays the third contest of a five-game road trip, is now three points behind Detroit for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference and will be without center Mikhail Grabovski for a second game in a row due to a sprained left knee. He did not go with the club to Buffalo.
The Sabres snapped a five-game slide with a win over Columbus on Saturday, but dropped a 3-0 decision to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday night. It was Buffalo's seventh shutout loss of the campaign, tied with Nashville for the most in the NHL.
Ryan Miller made 31 saves -- 15 in the first period -- for the Sabres.
"The second period (is when) we decided to start working. The first, we were just in awe watching them do their thing," said Sabres head coach Ted Nolan.
Buffalo was without forward Drew Stafford due to an upper-body injury and has lost five in a row at home.
The past three meetings between the Sabres and Caps have gone to a shootout, including a pair of wins by Buffalo this season. Washington won all three encounters last season, but has dropped four of its last six in Buffalo.
01/28 11:57:21 ET