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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, December 26th (All times eastern)

Buffalo Sabres (16-13-5) at Washington Capitals (21-11-3), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Washington Capitals will aim for their seventh victory in eight games when they welcome the Buffalo Sabres for tonight's matchup at the Verizon Center.

The Capitals have won six of seven, with their lone setback in that stretch coming in last Saturday's 7-1 blowout loss in Philadelphia. Washington, which leads the Southeast Division with 45 points, has had a solid December, going 8-3-0 in the month.

Washington rebounded from Saturday's ugly loss to the Flyers by staging a brilliant comeback Tuesday night in New York City. Shaone Morrisonn scored 59 seconds into overtime, as the Caps rallied from a four-goal deficit to stun the New York Rangers, 5-4, at Madison Square Garden.

In the extra session, Michael Nylander stick-handled from end-to-end and his intended pass went off a New York defenseman. Morrisonn followed up the play and pulled the trigger on a slap shot from inside the left circle that sailed over the glove of Henrik Lundqvist.

Alex Ovechkin registered two goals and an assist for the Southeast Division- leading Capitals. Nicklas Backstrom notched three assists, while the uneven Jose Theodore stopped 21-of-25 shots for Washington, which had lost seven straight at MSG.

Ovechkin has eight goals over his last seven games and is third in the NHL with 46 points on the season.

The Capitals trailed by a 4-0 count just five minutes into the second period, but rattled off five straight tallies to complete the amazing turnaround.

Right wing Alexander Semin (back), center Sergei Fedorov (ankle), and defensemen Mike Green (shoulder) and Tom Poti (groin) were out of the lineup for Washington. Those players are expected to miss tonight's test as well, but captain Chris Clark (fractured forearm) could be ready to return this evening after last playing on November 24.

The Capitals have a terrific 13-1-1 record at home this year and are playing six of seven games as the host beginning with tonight's test.

The Sabres have lost their last two games, but earned two points over that stretch as both setbacks came by 4-3 overtime losses.

After dropping a decision in Montreal last Saturday, Buffalo was handed another OT setback by visiting Pittsburgh on Monday. Sidney Crosby's deflection goal 43 seconds into overtime sent the Pens to the win at HSBC Arena.

Early in the extra session, Alex Goligoski gained control of the puck in the left circle and slipped a bouncing pass to the right circle for Evgeni Malkin. His fluttering one-timer knuckled toward the crease, where Crosby tipped it home with his stick just below the crossbar.

Ales Kotalik and Daniel Paille registered a goal and assist each for the Sabres, who have dropped three of four. Ryan Miller only stopped 18 shots in the contest, suffering his fourth defeat in five starts.

The Sabres are 7-5-3 as the visiting team this year and have won three of their last four road tests.

Buffalo slammed the visiting Capitals, 5-0, in the only meeting between these clubs on November 1. The Sabres have taken seven of eight and 10 of the last 12 encounters overall and have also won three straight and seven of eight in D.C.

12/26 10:41:09 ET


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