Caps hope to rebound vs. Sabres

( - The Washington Capitals hope to bounce back from their fourth regulation loss in six games when they continue a homestand in Saturday's meeting with the Buffalo Sabres.

Washington lost its final three games in February before beginning the new month with consecutive wins over Toronto and Columbus. However, the Capitals fell to 2-4-0 in their last six outings with Thursday's 2-1 loss against Minnesota. The setback came without the services of star forward Alex Ovechkin, who sat out with an unspecified lower-body injury and is day-to-day.

"He is probably questionable for [Saturday]," says Caps coach Barry Trotz. "But his injury should come around fairly quickly."

The Caps carried a 1-0 lead into the third period against the Wild, but wound up losing the opener of a five-game stay at Verizon Center after Jason Pominville scored both Minnesota goals in the final 20 minutes.

Curtis Glencross scored and Braden Holtby allowed both goals on 30 shots for Washington, which sits in the first of two wild card spots in the Eastern Conference.

Ovechkin, who leads the NHL with 43 goals and is tied for the league lead with 67 points, missed his first game of the season on Thursday.

"I thought we handled it quite well, actually," said Trotz of playing without Ovechkin. "They're [the Wild] hot. They're playing really well, and I thought we played them really well, without arguably maybe the best player in the National Hockey League right now."

Washington lost for the second time in three home games and fell to 18-9-5 in D.C. this season. After tonight's tilt, the Caps are idle until Wednesday's game against the New York Rangers.

Although the Sabres sit last in the NHL with only 43 points, the Capitals cannot afford to look past tonight's opponent. Buffalo has taken three of the last four meetings between the clubs and notched a 2-1 win in D.C. back on Nov. 22 in the first of three encounters between the clubs in 2014-15. It marked the Sabres' second straight win over the Caps at Verizon Center.

However, the rebuilding Sabres have traded away a bunch of assets since that November victory and they enter Saturday having lost three straight and nine of their last 12 games.

Buffalo's last three losses all have come in regulation on the road, including Friday's 3-2 setback against Ottawa.

The Sabres, who fell to 7-23-2 as the visiting team, held a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes, but the Senators cut the deficit in half in the second stanza. Mika Zibanejad and Mike Stone then scored 1:34 apart early in the third period to help Ottawa take the close decision.

Philip Varone and Tyler Ennis scored early in the contest for the Sabres. Anders Lindback made 34 saves in the loss, Buffalo's 16th by one goal this season.

"I've been working toward this for a long time," said Lindback. "I'm ready, and I'll be ready to go again tomorrow."

Lindback could be a workhorse for Buffalo down the stretch as fellow goaltender Chad Johnson suffered a lower-body injury in Friday's morning skate and is sidelined indefinitely. The Sabres recalled 21-year-old goaltender Andrey Makarov on Friday from the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League.

After Saturday, Buffalo is off until it closes a five-game road trip Wednesday in Toronto.