NBCSN’s coverage of the 2017-18 NHL season continues with a doubleheader on Tuesday night. In the early game, the Buffalo Sabres host the Washington Capitals at 7:00 p.m. ET. To watch the game online, click here.
The Capitals will be playing their second game in as many nights. They’re coming off a 3-2 overtime game against the Arizona Coyotes that saw them trail 2-0 in the opening period.
But thanks to Alex Ovechkin‘s game-tying goal and John Carlson‘s game-winner in the extra frame, they were able to save the day on home ice, where things have been a little rocky for Washington.
After a slow start to the season, the Caps have now rattled off three straight wins over the Isles, Bruins and Coyotes. Things are starting to look up.
“I think we’re just kind of finding our way and figuring out what’s working for us,” Carlson said, per the Washington Post. “We’ve got to put a couple of these together. We didn’t start [the season] like we wanted to, so we’ve got a lot of work to do, but just keep finding ways to win.”
Things haven’t really been going as well for the Sabres, who are in the basement of the Eastern Conference. They also own the worst goal differential in the East and the second-worst goal differential in the league (ahead of Arizona) at minus-18.
“We think a couple little changes here and there and we’re going to be better, but we all have to demand more out of ourselves,” Ryan O'Reilly said, per the Buffalo News. “It feels like we are a little fragile right now. When things don’t go well, it’s tough to climb back.”
This is a really important stretch for the Sabres, as six of their next nine games will be played on home ice. If they’re going to salvage their season, it will have to come before the end of November.
In the late game, the Anaheim Ducks host the Los Angeles Kings at 10:00 p.m. ET. To stream that game live, click here.
This will be one of the Kings’ few upcoming road games on their schedule, as they’ll begin a five-game homestand over the next couple of weeks.
Before they can start enjoying some home cooking though, they’ll need to take care of business against their state rivals, who are off to a rocky start in 2017-18.
“Yeah, it’s always fun,” Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said of playing the Ducks, per LAKingsinsider.com. “Good team. They’ve been probably better than us in the last three years or so. … I’m not sure what the head-to-head match has been, but they’re a division team, a division rival, they’re only just down the road there. Have a lot of support there from our fans in their building. I feel like we always show up to play there and play well.”
Unlike the Ducks, Los Angeles has enjoyed a terrific start to the year. They come into tonight’s game in top spot in the Pacific Division and they have a 4-1-1 record in their last six contests.
In fairness to Anaheim, their 6-6-2 record is a little deceiving. After all, they were without Ryan Kesler, Sami Vatanen and Hampus Lindholm to start the year (Cam Fowler is also out of the lineup). Now, Lindholm and Vatanen are back, which should eventually help boost their record.
“Obviously now you get a couple extra minutes because Cam is out,” said Lindholm, per the OC Register. “Even when he’s in the lineup, we usually get to play up to or close to 24, 25 (minutes). I think we both have proven we can handle it.
“Right now, we kind of have a couple of injuries. For me, I just feel that I want to bring as much as I can to the table and do as much good as I can out on the ice to help the team win some hockey games.”
Unforunately, Lindholm’s return hasn’t really sparked the Ducks into winning more games. Anaheim also has a ton of home dates this month, but they haven’t gotten off to a great start.
They opened November with a pair of home losses to Toronto and Nashville before dropping shootout decision in San Jose on Saturday night. Still, they have a great opportunity to get themselves back on track with seven of their next eight games coming at the Honda Center.
Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.