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Sabres at Capitals preview

Eichel playing in 300th NHL game with Buffalo; Washington goes for seventh win in eight

by Harvey Valentine / Independent Correspondent

SABRES (9-2-2) at CAPITALS (9-2-3)



The Game

The Washington Capitals will try to win for the seventh time in eight games when they host the Buffalo Sabres at Capital One Arena on Friday.

Washington leads the NHL with 21 points and Buffalo is tied for second with 20.

The Capitals are 6-0-1 in their past six games and return home after going 4-0-1 on a five-game road trip.

Buffalo, 4-1-1 in its past six games, can reach the 10-win mark in 14 or fewer games for third time in its history (10-0-0, 2006-07; 10-2-1, 1975-76).


Players to watch

Sabres forward Jack Eichel has seven points (three goals, four assists) in his past four games and will be playing his 300th NHL game.

Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin had 17 points (10 goals, seven assists) in his past 11 games including at least one point in 10 of them.


They said it

"We know what's coming at us, we know we're going to have to play our best hockey here to have a chance and that's all we want to do - give ourselves a chance in Washington, in that atmosphere, in that spirit of the World Series. Let's feed on that." -- Sabres coach Ralph Krueger

"We've been able to have success on the road and we've got to carry some of that thought process, some of that mentality that you have when you go on the road, home with us. I think that can be one key element to allow us to have a little bit more success at home. "-- Capitals coach Todd Reirden on playing nine of the next 13 games at home, where Washington is 2-1-2


Sabres projected lineup  

Victor Olofsson -- Jack Eichel -- Sam Reinhart

Jeff Skinner -- Marcus Johansson -- Vladimir Sobotka

Evan Rodrigues -- Casey Mittelstadt -- Conor Sheary

Zemgus Girgensons -- Johan Larsson -- Kyle Okposo

Jake McCabe -- Rasmus Ristolainen

Rasmus Dahlin -- Henri Jokiharju

John Gilmour -- Colin Miller

Linus Ullmark

Carter Hutton

Scratched: None

Injured: Marco Scandella (lower body), Jimmy Vesey (upper body), Brandon Montour (hand), Zach Bogosian (hip)


Capitals projected lineup

Alex Ovechkin -- Nicklas Backstrom -- T.J. Oshie

Jakub Vrana -- Evgeny Kuznetsov -- Tom Wilson

Carl Hagelin -- Lars Eller -- Garnet Hathaway

Brendan Leipsic -- Chandler Stephenson -- Travis Boyd

Michal Kempny -- John Carlson

Dmitry Orlov -- Radko Gudas

Jonas Siegenthaler -- Nick Jensen

Braden Holtby

Ilya Samsonov

Scratched: Tyler Lewington, Liam O'Brien

Injured: Richard Panik (upper body), Nic Dowd (lower body)


Status report

The Sabres did not hold a morning skate. … Reirden said Dowd is day to day. … The Capitals recalled O'Brien from Hershey of the American Hockey League.


Stat pack 

The Sabres have scored the first goal in 10 of their 13 games, going 8-1-1 in those games. … Reinhart has a goal and two assists in his past two games. … Eller will play in his 700th NHL game. … Carlson has 20 points (seven goals, 13 assists) in his past 11 games and points in 10 those games. … Vrana has four points (one goal, three assists) in a three-game point streak.

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