Buffalo (42-16-5) at Washington (22-34-7)

Cloudy Currently: Washington, DC
Temp: 39° F
  • Game info: 7:00 pm EST Tue Mar 14, 2006
  • TV: NBCS
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Looking to move into a tie atop the Northeast Division, the Buffalo Sabres go for their season high-tying seventh straight win when they visit the struggling Washington Capitals.

The Sabres earned their third winning streak of at least six games with a 6-2 victory over Boston on Sunday. Thomas Vanek scored two goals and added an assist for Buffalo, which won seven in a row from Dec. 4-19.

“That’s why we’re a good team,” said Buffalo center Daniel Briere, who saw his eight-game point streak come to an end. “We keep finding ways to win and there’s no doubt it doesn’t matter who scores. … The depth of our team is what makes the difference and it showed tonight.”

The Sabres’ depth is particularly evident when it comes to offense. Buffalo’s 220 goals are third-most in the Eastern Conference, with 10 players scoring at least 10 goals and three with at least 20.

Vanek, a 22-year-old rookie, is tied for the team lead with Ales Kotalik with 23 goals. Vanek has scored four times in the last four games, although he’s been held without a point in four consecutive road contests. He has only eight goals in 30 road games this season.

The Sabres are in fourth place in the conference, nine points ahead of fifth-place Philadelphia, but continue to push the Ottawa Senators for first place in the Northeast. Buffalo is two points behind Ottawa, which hosts Tampa Bay on Tuesday.

Buffalo will be facing a Capitals team that it has dominated of late, winning six of the last seven meetings while outscoring Washington 34-14 during that span.

The Caps are in 14th place in the conference and are all but certain to miss the playoffs for the second season in a row. The only bright spot has been the play of rookie forward Alexander Ovechkin, who leads all rookies with 42 goals and 79 points.

Ovechkin was held pointless for the second consecutive game Sunday as the Capitals lost 5-2 to the Senators, their second consecutive defeat.

“What happens that in these games, unless you’re getting secondary offense, it’s not just (Ovechkin),” Washington coach Glen Hanlon said. “That’s why you need secondary scoring and the power play.”

Ovechkin is tied for second in the NHL in goals with Atlanta’s Ilya Kovalchuk and is just two behind the New York RangersJaromir Jagr.

The next highest scorer on the Caps is forward Dainius Zubrus with 36 points.

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