Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Looking Ahead to Tonight's Matchup in Buffalo

The Caps are in Buffalo tonight to take on the Sabres at HSBC Arena. The Sabres come into the game off a 5-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers last night in Philadelphia, where despite a total of 18 non-off-setting minor penalties, neither team scored a power play goal. That says a lot about the state of affairs of special teams for both the Flyers and Sabres, though what exactly it says might not make a lot of sense. The Caps come into the game off a 10-2 one-sided victory over the Boston Bruins at home on Monday evening. So far this season Buffalo, currently sitting in ninth place in the Eastern Conference with 73 points, is 17-12-4 at home. Washington, currently in 11th place in the Eastern Conference with 70 points, is 14-14-5 in away games. The Sabres own a 3-0 advantage on the season series far though the last time these two teams met was December 14th in Washington when the Sabres won 5-3.

Players to watch - Buffalo's Thomas Vanek (LW) was the NHL's number 3 star for the month of February; Maxim Afinogenov (RW) and team captain Jason Pomville (RW) both of whom had two goals last evening against the Flyers are also hot right now. On the Caps side pick any number of players who had a big game Monday against the Bruins including the leagues number 1 scorer - Alexander Ovechkin (LW); the leading Rookie scorer Nicklas Backstrom (C); or the leagues leading goal scoring Defenseman - Mike Green; or number two sharpshooter Alexander Semin (LW). Ovechkin and Backstrom are both coming off stellar performances in Monday Night's blowout while Semin and Green were solid but didn't light up the scoreboard for multi-point performances. All that said the biggest keys to the game will likely be goalies Olie Kolzig for the Caps and Ryan Miller for the Sabres. The Sabres have kept Kolzig relatively snake-bitten so far this season.

Prognostication: The Caps want and need it more, have played very tough against good teams lately and don't want to be shutout by anybody - Caps take this game 4-3 in regulation. LETS GO CAPS!!!

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