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Capitals at Sabres preview

Washington trying for fourth straight win; Lehner starts for Sabres

by Joe Yerdon / Correspondent

CAPITALS (8-6-1) at SABRES (4-8-2)



The Game

The Washington Capitals will try for their fourth straight victory and first in the second game of a back-to-back set this season when they face the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center on Tuesday.

The Capitals are 0-3-0 in the second of back-to-backs and have been outscored 14-4. Washington is coming off its third straight win, 3-2 in overtime against the Arizona Coyotes on Monday. Defenseman John Carlson scored the game-winning goal, and Braden Holtby made 24 saves. Backup Philipp Grubauer is expected to start against Buffalo.

The Sabres will go back to starter Robin Lehner, who allowed three goals in 10 shots before he was pulled in the first period of a 5-1 loss at the Dallas Stars on Saturday. Buffalo is 1-3-0 in its past four games and 1-3-1 at home this season.


Players to watch

Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has 42 points (26 goals, 16 assists) in 42 career games against Buffalo. He is one power-play goal away from tying Jaromir Jagr and Mike Gartner for 10th all-time with 217, and is one game-winning goal away from passing Mats Sundin (96) for ninth all-time.

Sabres center Ryan O'Reilly has five points (two goals, three assists) during a three-game point streak.


They said it

"When most teams are sitting there waiting for you, you can't allow yourselves to turn pucks over and give them transition chances. That does make you tired pretty quickly if you're the team that played the night before. I think sometimes just play more of a boring game, just try to grind them down more than trading chances. Usually [trading chances] is not a good recipe, even if you are rested, but especially on back-to-backs ." -- Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik to the Capitals website on playing the second of back-to-back games

"We have to rely on our structure and play the right way for 60 minutes and not crack when it's close or we're up 1-0 or down by one goal. We've just got to stay the course and there's no way we can look ahead of this team. I know it's cliché, but we're going to take it one game at a time." -- Sabres coach Phil Housley


Capitals projected lineup

Jakub Vrana -- Nicklas Backstrom -- T.J. Oshie

Alex Ovechkin -- Evgeny Kuznetsov -- Devante Smith-Pelly

Chandler Stephenson -- Lars Eller -- Tom Wilson

Liam O'Brien -- Jay Beagle -- Alex Chiasson

Dmitry Orlov -- Taylor Chorney

Christian Djoos -- John Carlson

Brooks Orpik -- Madison Bowey

Philipp Grubauer

Braden Holtby

Scratched: Aaron Ness, Nathan Walker

Injured: Andre Burakovsky (fractured left thumb), Brett Connolly (upper body), Tyler Graovac (upper body), Matt Niskanen (upper body)


Sabres projected lineup

Evander Kane -- Jack Eichel -- Jason Pominville

Benoit Pouliot -- Ryan O'Reilly -- Kyle Okposo

Seth Griffith -- Sam Reinhart -- Nicholas Baptiste

Jordan Nolan -- Johan Larsson -- Zemgus Girgensons

Marco Scandella -- Justin Falk

Jake McCabe -- Taylor Fedun

Victor Antipin -- Zach Redmond

Robin Lehner

Chad Johnson

Scratched: Matt Moulson

Injured: Matt Tennyson (ankle), Rasmus Ristolainen (upper body), Justin Bailey (lower body), Nathan Beaulieu (upper body), Josh Gorges (lower body), Jacob Josefson (lower body), Zach Bogosian (lower body), Evan Rodrigues (hand)


Status report

The Capitals did not have a morning skate. … Tennyson was injured when he was hit by a shot by Eichel during practice on Monday. He skated Tuesday but left early.


Stat pack

Washington's power play is 7-for-24 on the road (29.2 percent), fourth in the NHL. ... Eichel has two points (two assists) in his past five games after he had eight points (two goals, six assists) in the previous six.

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