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Sabres, Capitals desperate for points

by Brian Compton

SABRES (10-14-4) at CAPITALS (11-15-1)


Last 10: Buffalo 4-3-3; Washington 5-5-0.

Season series: This is the second of three meetings. The Capitals earned a 3-2 victory against the Sabres on Jan. 27 at Verizon Center.

Big story: Just one point separates these clubs in the Eastern Conference standings, but both are scrambling to stay in the race to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Buffalo, which has earned points in seven of its past 10 games, is one point ahead of Washington entering Sunday’s action.

Team scope:

Sabres: Buffalo jumped out to an early 2-0 lead against the Ottawa Senators at First Niagara Center on Saturday, but it wasn’t enough as Kyle Turris scored twice – including the game-winner in overtime – as the Sabres dropped a 4-3 decision. Drew Stafford managed to get the Sabres a point in the standings as he erased a 3-2 deficit at 12:06 of the third period.

"Any time you can get points in the situation that we're in is important, but at the same time if we want to make ground we are going to have to get two," captain Jason Pominville said. "We can't just get one point; we have to be able to get two points. We had a two-goal lead and it just wasn't good enough."

Capitals: After showing signs of life earlier this month, Washington is struggling again. The Capitals lost for the fourth time in five games Saturday in a 4-1 defeat to the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. Marcus Johansson scored the lone goal for the Capitals, who have found the back of the net only six times in the past four games.

"We have had a lot of chances,” coach Adam Oates said. “[Nicklas Backstrom] gets robbed, [Jason Chimera] gets robbed. [Alexander Ovechkin] had a bunch of shots. Power plays could be better. I'm not worried about production. It will be there, and you go through stretches."

Who’s hot: Drew Stafford scored twice for the Sabres on Saturday.

Injury report: Washington is likely to be without defensemen Mike Green (groin), John Erskine (upper body), Tomas Kundratek (lower body) and forward Brooks Laich (groin).

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