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Sabres Finish Off Road Trip in Nation’s Capital

From the Canadian capital to the American one, the Sabres finish out their road trip.

Buffalo Sabres v Boston Bruins Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images

Game 36

Buffalo Sabres (18-15-2) vs. Washington Capitals (21-13-5)

Puck Drop: 7:00 PM EST | Capital One Arena | Washington, DC

TV: MSG

Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Caps blog: Japers’ Rink

Know Your Opponent

Washington Capitals

Record: (21-13-5)

Last Game: 9-2 win over Montreal

Division Ranking: 3rd in Metropolitan Division

PP: 21.9% (17th)

PK: 81.3% (11th)

What to Watch

1. It’s Hard to Think About Hockey Right Now.

I think I speak for many people from Buffalo when I say that it’s really hard to think about hockey, or any sport, right now. The weight of what happened Monday night in Cincinnati to Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin is on everyone’s mind, and without much update on his condition, it’s been incredibly challenging to think about doing any normal tasks today.

No doubt, it’s also weighing on the minds of the Sabres - as human beings, first and foremost, but also as (mostly young) professional athletes. The Sabres did hold a morning skate ahead of tonight’s game, but neither Don Granato nor any players spoke to the media. (This is not at all surprising and is completely understandable, given the gravity of the situation.)

There’s nothing much that can be said right now by any one of us to make the situation any better, or less heavy. Thoughts and prayers are with Damar and his family. If you feel so inclined, you can make a donation to his charity here.

2. Other Notes

I’m going to be totally honest with you here: it feels genuinely weird writing this, thinking about a sporting event in the wake of everything. How can we just... go about our lives? How can we just watch a hockey game right now?

If you need someone to talk to, consider calling the 24-hour crisis hotline at 716-834-3131.

Here are a few notes ahead of tonight’s game:

  • Alex Ovechkin leads the Capitals with 45 points in 39 games this season, including 26 goals. Evgeny Kuznetsov is second on the team with 33 points - 27 of which are assists.
  • T.J. Oshie had been sidelined with an upper-body injury, but it looks like he could make his return Tuesday night.
  • The Capitals are 8-1-1 in their last 10 games. The Sabres are 7-2-1.
  • With 3.91 average goals-for per game, the Sabres lead the NHL.

Projected Lineups

Buffalo Sabres

Forwards

Jeff Skinner - Tage Thompson - Alex Tuch

JJ Peterka - Dylan Cozens - Jack Quinn

Casey Mittelstadt - Tyson Jost - Victor Olofsson

Kyle Okposo - Peyton Krebs - Zemgus Girgensons

Defense

Mattias Samuelsson - Rasmus Dahlin

Owen Power - Kale Clague

Jacob Bryson - Ilya Lyubushkin

Goaltenders: Craig Anderson, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (starter)

Scratches: Vinnie Hinostroza, Rasmus Asplund

Injuries: Eric Comrie, Henri Jokiharju

Washington Capitals

Forwards

Alex Ovechkin - Dylan Strome - Conor Sheary

Sonny Milano - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Anthony Mantha

Marcus Johansson - Lars Eller - T.J. Oshie

Aliaksei Protas - Nic Dowd - Garnet Hathway

Defense

Erik Gustafsson - Trevor van Riemsdyk

Dmitry Orlov - Nick Jensen

Martin Fehervary - Matt Irwin

Goaltenders: Darcy Kuemper, Charlie Lindgren

Injuries: Nicklas Backstrom, Carl Hagelin, Tom Wilson, Connor Brown, John Carlson