The Washington Capitals begin a three-game road trip tonight in Buffalo against the Sabres.
Washington has won each of the first two matchups with Buffalo this season, both in Washington, outscoring the Sabres a combined 8-5 in those two games. Joel Ward and Mike Ribeiro lead the way with four points each against Buffalo in the first two games of the series. 2012-13 marks the fourth time in the last five seasons that the Capitals have won the season series vs. Buffalo. Washington has not swept a season series against Buffalo since going 3-0-0 in 1988-89.
Must Read/See/Hear Material
WashingtonCaps.com: Caps Take to Road Again in Buffalo
Washington Post: The Washington Capitals are ready for key road trip / Capitals Insider: George McPhee on Caps prospects Kuznetsov, Forsberg and Wilson / Capitals Insider: Alex Ovechkin asks to leave practice early, Eric Fehr skates briefly
Washington Times: Capitals want to put teams behind them in playoff chase / Could Penguins’ trades ‘disrupt chemistry?’ / Capitals Watch: Mathieu Perreault switches to Oakley visor after 3rd Bauer Break
Associated Press: Capitals-Sabres Preview
Ted’s Take: A Great List / Wearpanda / Ovech-Chin And More / Weekend Viewing Pleasure
Russian Machine Never Breaks: Filip Forsberg Scores Two Goals, Leksand Essentially Clinches Promotion to Elitserien
March 23 Assigned Joey Crabb to Hershey
March 18 Recalled Dmitry Orlov from Hershey
F Eric Fehr – day-to-day
D Tomas Kundratek – day-to-day
D John Erskine – day-to-day
D Tom Poti – day-to-day
TOP FIVE CAPS FACTS
A history of helpers – Nicklas Backstrom currently ranks tied for sixth in the league (with teammate Mike Ribeiro) in assists (24). Backstrom tallied a goal and an assist on March 24 at New York, tying him with Capitals head coach Adam Oates for 10th place all-time in Capitals history in assists (290). Backstrom ranks fifth in the league in assists since his rookie season (2007-08).
The tip of the sword – Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom have combined for 51 points in 50 career games against the Sabres. Ovechkin has tallied 19 goals and 12 assists in 29 games, including two goals in two games this season, while Backstrom has collected eight goals and 12 assists in 21 games against Buffalo.
Star power – Alex Ovechkin was named the NHL’s First Star of the Week for the week ending March 24. Ovechkin led the NHL with five goals and eight points in four games, stretching his season-long scoring streak to five games (six goals, three assists). He leads the Capitals and ranks tied for eighth in the league with 16 goals in 33 games this season and ranks second on Washington with 32 points. He currently leads the league in power-play goals and ranks 11th among all active players in career goals with the man advantage (121). Ovechkin ranks second in Capitals history in power-play goals, behind Peter Bondra (137).
Swede success – Since returning to the lineup from injury, Marcus Johansson has tallied three goals and six assists in 10 games, with eight of those nine points coming in his last seven contests. Johansson ranks sixth in scoring from his 2009 draft class, having compiled 83 points in 168 career games.
Offense from the back end – John Carlson currently has a four-game point streak (one goal, three assists) heading into tonight’s game and has tallied eight points (two goals, six assists) in 14 games in the month of March. He leads all Capitals blueliners in points and goals this season and ranks fifth in the league in blocked shots (84).