NBCSN continues its coverage of the 2013-14 campaign tonight when the Buffalo Sabres host the Washington Capitals at First Niagara Center at 7:30 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.
Things haven’t been great for either the Washington Capitals or the Buffalo Sabres of late.
We saw the Sabres get shut out on the road 3-0 by the Pittsburgh Penguins last night on NBCSN. Ryan Miller did everything he could while Marc-Andre Fleury stoned them. The loss was their sixth in the past seven games. If there’s a silver lining here for Buffalo it comes in the form of the Capitals.
The Caps enter tonight’s tilt losers of seven of the past eight games and 11 of the past 14. Washington’s 5-0 win against Montreal on Saturday night stopped what was a seven-game losing streak and was able to get some positive mojo working for them.
Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $2,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Tuesday night’s NHL games. It’s just $10 to join and first prize is $400. Starts Tuesday at 7pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.
The wild thing for the Caps? Despite all of the losses, they’re still just three points out of the final wild card spot in the East playoff race. The struggles of the Eastern Conference on the whole are helping keep the Caps (and just about everyone else) in the hunt.
The Caps will have to try to keep the wins coming without Mikhail Grabovski who is out with a lower-body injury. Alex Ovechkin returned against Montreal after missing time with a groin injury and had an immediate impact with a goal and an assist. They’ll also likely catch a break not having to face Miller as he played last night.
Miller earned two shootout wins against the Caps already this season stopping 77 of 79 shots and nine out of nine in the shootout in those two games. Instead, they’ll likely face Jhonas Enroth who has had a strong season as well in spite of his 1-10-4 record. The Capitals will counter with either Braden Holtby or Michal Neuvirth in goal to stop a Sabres offense that’s last in the league.
The Boston Bruins updated Malcolm Subban‘s condition a day after the goaltending prospect was hospitalized after being struck in the throat with a puck.
“Malcolm Subban was struck in the throat with a puck Saturday night during pregame warmups. He was transported to Maine Medical Center and was diagnosed with a fractured larynx. He stayed overnight at Maine Medical Center and was transported to Mass General Hospital on Sunday for further evaluation. He is in stable condition and will be sidelined indefinitely. The team will provide additional details when they become available.”
Awful news, although at least he’s in stable condition.
PHT will stay tuned for further updates regarding the 22-year-old.
Pulling Anders Nilsson didn’t stop the bleeding for the Edmonton Oilers. Instead, it really just spread the “wealth.”
The New York Islanders are up 7-1, so don’t be surprised if there’s some ugly stuff in the final frame.
Zack Kassian is an author of at least one outburst, as he was tagged with 19 penalty minutes for a display that included fighting Brian Strait, as you can see in the video above.
It’s not the only fight stemming from the blowout, either, as Eric Gryba just tangled with Matt Martin.
Could there be more?
There was a time when Anders Nilsson seemed like the best bet in the Oilers’ net this season. This … is not that time.
Less than 12 minutes into Sunday’s game, the New York Islanders roared to a 3-0 lead, and that was enough for Edmonton to give Nilsson the hook.
He allowed those three goals on 10 shots, so to be fair, that’s a pretty impressive chunk of chances (almost a shot on goal per minute).
Still, the Oilers were likely hoping to give Cam Talbot a breather, and instead he was rushed into action. Nilsson hadn’t played since Jan. 19, and he’s only appeared in three games in 2016.
As if this didn’t sting enough for Nilsson, consider the fact that he began his NHL career with the Islanders, who eventually decided he wasn’t worth keeping.
Alex Ovechkin scored to join Wayne Gretzky and Mike Gartner as only players with at least 30 goals in each of their first 11 NHL seasons, and Matt Niskanen netted the game winner as Washington beat the Flyers 3-2 at Verizon on Super Bowl Sunday.
Michael Del Zotto and Nick Schultz replied for the Flyers, who suffered their second straight loss.
The win was the Capitals’ third in a row.
It didn’t always look as though Washington would emerge the victor, however. The Caps were out-shot 35-30 on the day and looked disjointed at times, finishing with 12 giveaways (Philly was credited with just five, for comparison’s sake).
But good teams find ways to win when they’re not playing especially well, and the Caps are a pretty good team — especially when Braden Holtby is on his game.
Holtby, atop many Vezina lists at the moment, had another terrific outing on Sunday, making 33 saves, perhaps none better than this one on Mark Streit in the second period:
Holtby’s counterpart, Steve Mason, had a solid outing as well, finishing with 27 stops.
Looking ahead, the Caps will now head out on a three-game Western Conference swing through Minnesota, Nashville and what promises to be a high-octane game in Dallas on Feb. 13.
The Flyers, meanwhile, will now kick off a three-game homestand against Anaheim, Buffalo and New Jersey.