NHL Preview from The Sports Network |
Wednesday, December 31st
(All times eastern)
Washington Capitals (11-22-3-1) at Buffalo Sabres (14-19-3-1), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Washington Capitals try to end a two-game losing
streak tonight when they visit the Buffalo Sabres at HSBC Arena.
Washington has lost three of its last four and is 3-7-2 in the last 12
overall. After a 3-1 loss to the Sabres on Saturday, the Capitals fell by the
same score to the Bruins two days later to close a five-game homestand.
On Monday against Boston, Jeff Halpern scored the only goal of the game for
Washington, while Olaf Kolzig made 31 saves in a losing effort. The Bruins'
Ted Donato scored a shorthanded goal in the first period to snap a 1-1 tie.
After recording a point in all but five of his first 34 games this season,
Capital forward Robert Lang has not found the scoresheet in three straight
tilts. He still, however, leads the NHL with 44 points (19g, 25a) -- one more
than Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk.
The Caps remain one victory shy of 1,000 for their franchise history, having
gone 999-1,039-296-15 all-time.
Washington, 1-0-1 in its last two road contests, will host New Jersey on
Thursday at the MCI Center.
Buffalo, meanwhile, had a two-game winning streak halted via Monday's 2-1 loss
in Carolina. The Hurricanes' Bret Hedican scored late in the second period to
snap a tie and Kevin Weekes stopped 21 shots to stave off the Sabres.
Curtis Brown scored for the Sabres, who were denied their second three-game
winning streak of the season. Brown's fifth goal of the season, with 1:21 left
in the first period, staked Buffalo to a 1-0 lead.
Goaltender Mika Noronen made 29 saves, but suffered a groin injury in the
match and was placed on injured reserve Monday. Noronen, who has started seven
of the last eight games, is expected to miss at least a week. Martin Biron,
who has played only twice this month (both losses), is slated to be in net
The Sabres, 1-0-1 in their last two at home, will host Anaheim on Friday.
Buffalo has defeated Washington twice this season, but the Caps have won five
of the last eight meetings.
Six of the last nine clashes between these clubs have been decided by a single
12/31 10:09:16 ET