CAPITALS (17-14-2) at SABRES (16-15-3)
: RIS (HD), NHLN-CA, CSN-MA+, MSG-B
: Washington 5-4-1; Buffalo 3-5-2.
: This is the second of four meetings between the teams. Buffalo cruised to a 5-1 victory against Washington on Nov. 26 at First Niagara Center. Luke Adam
had a pair of goals for the Sabres.
: Will Dale Hunter be the coach of the Capitals beyond this season?
Hunter, who replaced Bruce Boudreau on Nov. 28, refused to comment late last week when asked about his future with the club. The Capitals are 5-5-1 under Hunter following Friday's 4-3 shootout loss to New Jersey.
Should things not work out in Washington, Hunter could always return to the Ontario Hockey League. He was co-owner of the London Knights before agreeing to replace Boudreau.
"Maybe he wanted the one year for his own reasons; only he knows," Caps defenseman Karl Alzner
said of his coach. "For me, it doesn't change the message. I don't think a lot of guys pay attention to that. I don't think that he's here to coach us for the year and go do his own thing. He's here to help us win and he wants to win, too. We're all in the same boat."
: Washington rallied just to pick up a point Friday night, as Jason Chimera
scored twice and Brooks Laich
also scored in the third period to help the Caps come back from a 3-0 deficit. Chimera's second goal of the night tied the game with just 1:42 left in regulation.
"We spent so much time early on looking for the right combination and things just started to work in the third period," Hunter said. "We had our chances to win this one. We kept the pressure on them, finally got some goals, but we couldn't get the last one. I told them to just go out there and work hard and we'd get better chances. They never gave up and just came up short. I'm happy with the effort."
: Buffalo will be aiming to avoid a four-game skid Monday night. The Sabres suffered their third straight loss in a 3-2 defeat at Toronto on Thursday, as Buffalo went just 1-for-6 on the power play. Jason Pominville
and Derek Roy
scored in the losing effort.
"Obviously the couple days rest here is going to be nice to spend time with our families and maybe not think about hockey -- think about other things," Pominville said of the Christmas break. "But we wanted to end this on a pretty good note. The effort was there, the results weren't and if we keep putting efforts on like this and limit those little (mental mistakes) a little bit, we're going to get on a roll here."
: Caps captain Alex Ovechkin
has 2 goals and an assist in his last four contests. … Pominville has 2 goals and 8 assists in his last eight games and 11 points in his last 10.
: Washington will be without Mike Green
(groin), Jay Beagle
(concussion symptoms) and Tom Poti
(groin). … Buffalo has a long list of injuries, including: Thomas Vanek
(upper body), Tyler Ennis
(ankle), Colin Stuart
(knee), Jochen Hecht
(lower body), Corey Tropp
(head), Nathan Gerbe
(concussion), Tyler Myers
(wrist), Brad Boyes
(lower body) and Ville Leino
(lower body). Vanek, Myers and Boyes could be in the lineup against the Caps.
: The Capitals are 6-1 in games decided in overtime, but on Friday fell to 1-2 in games decided by shootout. … Sabres center Derek Roy
has only 2 goals in his last 17 games.
: "It's up to us to come to the rink and work to get better. Come to the rink and try to improve every day regardless if you're winning or losing." -- Sabres goalie Ryan Miller