With an offensive outburst in their last game, the Washington Capitals finally put an end to their long losing streak.
The Capitals will look to build on that performance Tuesday night when they visit the Eastern Conference-worst Buffalo Sabres.
Washington (23-21-8) scored a combined eight goals during its seven-game losing streak, so it was a surprise to see it light up the scoreboard Saturday night in Montreal. Alex Ovechkin got the scoring started in the second period with the first of the Capitals’ four goals in an 8:45 span en route to a 5-0 win.
”It’s a big win, a good win for the boys,” Ovechkin said. ”It brings some confidence back."
As relieved as it might have felt, Washington left some good scoring opportunities on the ice. The Capitals went 0 for 8 on the power play against the Canadiens, and have converted just 1 of 32 chances with the man advantage in their last nine games.
"The game of hockey, there’s such a fine line. There’s so many different subplots every single night." coach Adam Oates said. "It was one game, we scored some goals, but we have to face a great goalie again (on Tuesday), so here we go again."
It’s unclear, however, if U.S. Olympian Ryan Miller will be in net – he hasn’t started on back-to-back nights in seven chances this season – and the Capitals certainly have to be wishing he’ll get a breather. Miller has stopped 77 of 79 shots he’s faced from Washington this season in two shootout wins, denying all nine Capitals skaters he’s seen in the tiebreaker.
Buffalo (14-30-7) snapped Columbus’ franchise-record eight-game winning streak with a 5-2 victory on Saturday, but couldn’t earn its first back-to-back wins since mid-December. Miller stopped 31 of 33 shots he faced in Pittsburgh on Monday but got no help in the Sabres’ 3-0 loss.
Coach Ted Nolan was particularly discouraged with his team’s effort in the first period, but it was the second when a pair of turnovers led directly to the Penguins’ first two goals.
"We’re a team where we can’t have glaring mistakes,” Nolan said. ”It’s very demoralizing."
The Sabres average just 26.4 shots – second-fewest in the league – but had scored at least three goals in six straight games before getting shut out in Pittsburgh.
Jason Chimera and Ovechkin have combined for seven of the Capitals’ 13 goals over their past eight games.while Cody Hodgson has recorded four goals and three assists in the Sabres’ last seven.
The Capitals have dropped three of their last four games in Buffalo and have scored a total of 17 goals in their last 10 visits.