Wounded Sabres play host to Capitals
As they continue to play without starting goaltender Ryan Miller, the Sabres are in danger of losing four in a row for the first time in over a year.
The Capitals have their star player on the ice, but that hasn't stopped them from struggling over the last three weeks.
Buffalo hopes to deal Washington a fourth straight road defeat this evening as the two clubs clash for the first time this season.
Miller hasn't played since Nov. 12 due to a concussion suffered in a collision for a loose puck versus the Bruins. The Sabres are 2-3-1 since, with Jhonas Enroth filling in for the club's star netminder.
Enroth has done well in place of Miller this season, but didn't make it out of Friday's 5-1 loss to the Blue Jackets, giving up four goals on 18 shots before getting pulled early in the second.
Drew MacIntyre made 15 saves in relief for Buffalo, which has lost three in a row for the first time this season and five of seven. It hasn't lost four straight since a five-game skid from Oct. 26-Nov. 5 of last season.
"It was a frustrating game out there tonight," said Enroth. "We can't afford to give away games like this."
Jordan Leopold scored the lone goal for the banged-up Sabres. In addition to Miller, Tyler Myers is on injured reserve because of a broken wrist, while Brad Boyes, Cody McCormick and Patrick Kaleta all missed Friday's game with injuries. That led to the Sabres giving 2009 first-round pick Zach Kassian his NHL debut and the forward logged an assist on Leopold's goal.
Washington is missing two key pieces of its defense in injured blueliners John Erskine and Mike Green, but still have Alex Ovechkin on the offensive side of things. Ovechkin snapped a six-game goal drought on Friday and got his first at home this season, but it wasn't enough in the Capitals' 6-3 setback to the Rangers.
Michal Neuvirth gave up all six goals on 33 shots and Troy Brouwer and John Carlson scored goals for the Capitals, who saw the Rangers score three straight times in the second period in less than five minutes.
"Once it started," Capitals head coach Bruce Boudreau said of the Rangers' scoring binge, "it seemed to snowball."
Washington had won the first two of its three-game homestand before falling to 3-6-1 in its last 10. That span includes a winless three-game road trip from Nov. 15-19 in which the Capitals were outscored 14-3.
The Caps are 5-0-1 in their last six versus the Sabres, with the two teams splitting a pair of meetings in Buffalo last season.