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The Capitals have lost their last two games but look to repeat the start of the season where they beat the Sabres twice.
The Sabres are off to a 1-3 start and they were shut out in their last game. They have really been up and down on both sides the ice, as in two games they scored 10 goals while in the other two they only scored one. Buffalo lost the first two games of the season to the Caps where they were outscored 8-5.
After beating the Sabres in the first two games the Caps lost their last two games to the Pittsburgh Penguins. While they did score seven goals in the two losses their defense was less than stellar giving up nine goals. All four of Washington’s games have been on the road and this is their first home game of the season.
Quite a Different Game
In their last game, the Sabres were on the road and lost to the Philadelphia Flyers 3-0 after beating them 6-1 in the previous game. In the last game they did play solid D until late in the second period where they gave up a goal and then two more in the final period. Buffalo was shut out even though they had 10 more shots than Philly (40-30).
Carter Hutton got the start in the last game against the Flyers where he stopped 18 of 19 shots before being injured late in the third period. Jonas Johansson made his season debut allowing one goal on nine shots and I would think he would get the start in this game. The Flyers scored an empty net goal late to end with the 3-0 shutout.
Taylor Hall and Jack Eichel leadthe Sabres with six points and in the 6-1 win over the Flyers Hall had three assists. Victor Olofsson, Sam Reinhart, and Curtis Lazar all have two goals.
Not only are the Sabres 4-14 in their last 18 games against the Caps but 5-16 in their 21 games facing them in the Nation’s Capital.
Can’t Come Through After Regulation
The Caps have lost two in a row to the Penguins where they lost the first game in a shootout and lost the last game in overtime. In the late game, they lost 5-4 in OT where they outscored the Pens 3-1 in the first period but were outscored 4-1 the rest of the way. Washington was outshot 30-26 in the loss and they allowed two goals on the three power play chances they gave Pittsburgh while they failed to score on their two power plays.
In the loss to the Pens in their last game Tom Wilson scored twice and Lars Eller and Evgeny Kuznetsov also found the back of the net. Vitek Vanecek got the start in the loss giving up five goals on 30 shots and he was between the pipes in the last game against the Sabres only giving up one goal on 31 shots. He will get the start in this game, as Ilya Samsonov (1-0-1 3.36 GAA) was placed in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol Wednesday.
Wilson has scored three goals in his last three games and he is tied for the team lead with star Alex Ovechkin with five points apiece. However, like Samsonov, Ovechkin will miss this game as will Evgeny Kuznetsov and Dmitry Orlov since they were recently placed on the COVID-19 list.
The Washington Capitals are:
- 40-13 in their last 53 Friday games
- 15-6 in their last 21 vs. a team with a winning % below .400
- 41-20 in their last 61 after allowing 5 goals or more in their previous game
The Buffalo Sabres are:
- 21-44 in their last 65 Friday games
- 2-9 in their last 11 overall
- 15-49 in their last 64 road games
The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Even with the four players of Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov and Ilya Samsonov missing this game on the COVID-19 list ,I have to go with the Caps at home in this one. Their defense has not looked good in the last two games, but they have scored seven goals in that span and they already beat the Sabres twice this season. On top of that, the Sabres are coming off a shutout loss and dating back to last season they have lost nine of their last 11 games. Washington beat Buffalo in the last game facing them 2-1 and I look for them to win again in another low scoring affair.
Full-Game Total Pick
The Capitals have several players out for this game including Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov. Because of that they will have to rely on their defense more and while that D has not looked good in losing their last two games they will step up in this game. The last time Washington faced Buffalo they beat them 2-1 and this game will be like that one in a low scoring affair. Even though the Over record is 3-1-1 in the last five games the Under is the pick for this East Division matchup.
Under 5.5 goals