Game Day Preview: Buffalo Sabres vs. Washington Capitals

The Sabres are still in a big hole heading into this game with their playoff lives on the line.  The Canadiens beat the Islanders last night but the Rangers lost to the Hurricanes which puts the Rangers in the eighth spot in the conference.  Therefore, the Sabres are six points behind the Rangers with six games left to play.  They also have two games in hand on the Rangers.  They still need to leapfrog the Panthers as well who play the Thrashers tonight.

In terms of the Sabres, the main stars have been playing bad lately.  Although Vanek scored the only two goals for the Sabres, he also turned the puck over for the game losing breakaway.  Stafford and Roy have been just as bad over time with the line as a whole was a -4 against Atlanta. 

The Capitals have clinched a playoff spot and need tonight's win to clinch the Southeast Division.  They have recently leapfrogged the Devils for the second spot in the Conference and won their last two games.  At the forefront of the Capitals is the ever present Alexander Ovechkin.  Ovechkin leads the league in goals with 54 and is seven points behind Evegeni Malkin for the points lead as well.  The Capitals have built their team to this point around Ovechkin and surrounded him with enough talent to not have the focus on him. 

Ryan Miller should be in net for the Sabres while Simeon Varlamov will be in net for the Capitals.  Varlamov is 3-0-0 in four appearances with a 1.74 GAA and .908 SV%.  Game time is 7:00 at the Verizon Center.

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