Sabres at Capitals preview
Ovechkin to play in 983rd game, tie Washington record; Buffalo 4-6-2 in past 12by Brian McNally / NHL.com Correspondent
SABRES (18-32-11) at CAPITALS (34-20-7)
7 p.m. ET; MSG-B, NBCSWA, NHL.TV
Forward Alex Ovechkin will play in his 983rd NHL game and tie Calle Johansson for the most games played in Washington Capitals history when the Capitals host the Buffalo Sabres at Capital One Arena on Saturday.
Ovechkin, 32, is Washington's all-time leader in goals (594) and points (1,103), and needs six goals to become the 20th player to score 600 in the League. He leads the NHL in goals this season with 36, and has 15 points (six goals, nine assists) in his past 11 games.
The Capitals, 2-3-2 in their past seven games, are in second place in the Metropolitan Division, one point behind the Pittsburgh Penguins and one point ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Sabres, 4-6-2 in their past 12 games, are in eighth place in the Atlantic Division and trail the Columbus Blue Jackets by 18 points for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference.
Players to watch
Sabres center Ryan O'Reilly has seven points (two goals, five assists) in his past six games.
Capitals goaltender Philipp Grubauer, who will start Saturday, is 2-0-0 with a 2.14 goals-against average and a .937 save percentage in his past three games (two starts).
They said it
"It just seems like on the road we just can focus. There's no distractions. … At home it just seems like the mentality right now … it's tough to get out of that rut. -- Sabres coach Phil Housley on Buffalo being 5-0-1 in its past six road games
"We always look at chemistry with the group … we brought in some guys with experience and our young guys have got experience now, and we know we had to get deeper there." -- Capitals coach Barry Trotz on trading for veteran defensemen Michal Kempny and Jakub Jerabek
Sabres projected lineup
Evander Kane -- Ryan O'Reilly -- Sam Reinhart
Zemgus Girgensons - Evan Rodrigues - Kyle Okposo
Scott Wilson -- Johan Larsson -- Jason Pominville
Benoit Pouliot -- Jacob Josefson -- Jordan Nolan
Marco Scandella -- Casey Nelson
Nathan Beaulieu -- Rasmus Ristolainen
Josh Georges -- Victor Antipin
Scratched: Justin Faulk, Nicholas Baptiste
Injured: Jake Eichel (high ankle sprain), Jake McCabe (thumb), Zac Bogosian (hip)
Capitals projected lineup
Alex Ovechkin -- Nicklas Backstrom -- Tom Wilson
Brett Connolly -- Evgeny Kuznetsov -- T.J. Oshie
Chandler Stephenson -- Lars Eller -- Andre Burakovsky
Alex Chiasson -- Jay Beagle -- Devante Smith-Pelly
Dmitry Orlov -- Matt Niskanen
Christian Djoos -- John Carlson
Brooks Orpik -- Michal Kempny
Scratched: Jakub Vrana, Madison Bowey, Jakub Jerabek
Vrana is scratched for the fourth time in 13 games. Jerabek, acquired in a trade with Montreal on Wednesday, won't play. … Lehner is 3-0-1 in his past four road starts.
The Capitals have earned a point in 25 of their past 32 games against the Sabres (21-7-4). … Okposo has seven points (four goals, three assists) in his past seven games against Washington.