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Apr 1, 2024 6:37 pm

Capitals hope to build off OT loss, take on Sabres

john carlson

The Washington Capitals will try to resume their playoff push when they visit the Buffalo Sabres Tuesday night.

The Capitals (36-27-10, 82 points) are among a group of teams competing for the final two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference: third place in the Metropolitan Division and the second wild-card spot.

Washington, 6-3-1 in its past 10 outings, has games in hand over most of the group but games remaining against Eastern powers Carolina, Tampa Bay and Boston. Next up, however, are two matchups against teams below them in the standings, Buffalo and then Pittsburgh.

The Capitals picked up a big point last time out, taking the visiting Boston Bruins to a shootout before dropping a 3-2 decision. Washington rallied from 1-0 and 2-1 deficits.

“It wasn’t perfect tonight but we showed some poise coming back and battling in it until the end and giving ourselves a chance to win,” said defenseman John Carlson, who scored a tying goal in his 1,000th NHL game. “It would’ve been nice to win but it showed a lot of guts from us tonight.”

Michael Sgarbossa also scored for the Capitals and Charlie Lindgren, starting for the eighth time in nine games, made 27 saves.

Washington had an excellent chance for the second point but was unable to convert a four-minute overtime power play.

“Would have been nice there to finish that off in overtime on that power play or in the shootout,” Capitals coach Spencer Carbery said. “Had some opportunities.”

Defenseman Rasmus Sandin, a late scratch versus Boston with a lower-body injury, will travel with the team to Buffalo and will be a gameday decision.

The Sabres (35-35-5, 75 points) are technically still alive in the wild-card race, but the math is against them as they would have to jump over five teams with only seven games remaining. Buffalo has been done in by a late March run during which it has dropped five of eight games after winning three straight.

Last time out the Sabres lost the middle game of their five-game homestand to the Toronto Maple Leafs, 3-0. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made 19 saves for the Sabres.

“I mean, it definitely gets frustrating after a while,” Buffalo center Dylan Cozens said. “You get tons of chances, and (their) goalie just stands on his head. Got to find a way to bury some of those. I’ve got to find a way to bury some of those, and our power play’s (0-for-6) got to get a couple.”

The Sabres are 0-for-18 on the power play in their past seven games.

“I got to be better,” Buffalo forward Alex Tuch said. “All five of us (on the power-play unit) got to be better. There’s no excuses. We just have to score when we have the opportunities and as many opportunities as we got in the last however many weeks or whatever. We got to bear down.”

Tuch saw his seven-game point streak (one goal, nine assists) end.

Buffalo forward Jordan Greenway did not practice Monday and was being evaluated for an upper-body injury.

Sabres forward Jeff Skinner is expected to play his 1,000th NHL game on Tuesday.

–Field Level Media

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