Sabres try to avoid 4th straight loss vs. Caps

December has not been a good month for the Buffalo Sabres. game losing streak of the season when it hosts the Washington Capitals at First Niagara Center.

Buffalo was dealt its third straight loss Thursday in Toronto, dropping the Sabres to 3-5-2 this month. The Sabres, who are 12 points behind Boston for first place in the Northeast Division, are just 6-10-3 over their last 19 trips to the ice.

The Sabres were outscored by a combined 15-6 margin during a recent 0-3 road trip. The most recent setback came in a 3-2 setback to the Maple Leafs, who received 40 saves from goaltender James Reimer.

Jason Pominville had a goal and an assist while Derek Roy scored the other goal for the Sabres, who have lost five of their last six. Ryan Miller turned aside 28 shots in the loss.

"We're trying to keep the belief that effort equals opportunity, and opportunity is what you need in this league," said Miller. "We have to keep giving ourselves a chance."

Sabres forwards Thomas Vanek is questionable for tonight's game after leaving Thursday's game with an undisclosed injury. Vanek is leading the Sabres with 17 goals and his 36 points leave the Austrian sniper one point behind Pominville for the team lead.

Buffalo is 8-9-3 as the host this season and will play its next two games on the road in New Jersey and Washington.

The Capitals also lost their last game before Christmas break, as they were dealt a shootout loss by Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils. Brodeur stopped two skaters in the shootout, including a nifty glove save on Alex Ovechkin, to lift the Devils to a 4-3 win in Newark.

Washington erased a 3-0 deficit in the third period to get the game to overtime. Jason Chimera had the last two goals for Washington, including the equalizer with 1:42 remaining. Brooks Laich also scored while Michal Neuvirth had 25 saves for the Capitals, who have dropped three of five.

"We threw everything at 'em and the guys played hard to tie the game up," said Capitals head coach Dale Hunter. "We just went. We had nothing to lose."

Washington is just 6-9-1 as the guest this year and has dropped two straight on the road.

The Sabres slammed the Caps by a 5-1 score when the teams met in Buffalo on Nov. 26. That victory ended a three-game winning streak in the series for Washington, which has lost two of its last three in western New York.