The Buffalo Sabres begin a season-high five-game road trip in an arena where they have not lost in more than three years.
The Sabres, who own the NHL’s best road record this season, try to win their fifth straight game at the MCI Center when they visit the Washington Capitals on Saturday.
Buffalo (20-3-2) won its first 10 games away from the HSBC Arena this year to set a new NHL mark for most consecutive road wins to start a season. The streak ended with a 4-1 loss at Ottawa on Nov. 18, but the Sabres are a league-best 11-1 on the road.
The Sabres have also won seven of their last visits to Washington (10-9-6).
Buffalo is outscoring the Capitals 18-7 during its current four-game win streak at the MCI Center, where it has not lost since a 3-2 defeat on Feb. 26, 2003.
The Sabres have also won three straight over the Capitals overall, and seven of the last eight meetings between the clubs.
Buffalo defeated the New York Rangers 4-3 in a shootout on Friday to become the fifth team in NHL history to accumulate at least 20 victories through 25 games.
“You don’t want to get too ahead of yourself, but we’re playing to win as many games as we can,” said Daniel Briere, who scored the lone goal in the shootout. “We’re inching to our goal, inching closer to the playoffs.”
Goaltender Ryan Miller made 36 saves—including six in overtime—and stopped all three Rangers shootout attempts. He improved to 5-1 in shootouts this season.
Buffalo is 5-1 when playing the second game in consecutive nights, and Miller has split time with backup goalie Martin Biron the last four times the Sabres have played back-to-backs.
Biron is 9-5 with a tie, a shutout and a 2.40 goals-against average in his career against Washington, and has won his last four games against the Capitals. He is 7-1 with a 3.10 GAA overall this season.
Chris Drury scored his 15th goal against the Rangers, and has five goals in his last seven games. Maxim Afinogenov, who had two assists on Friday, has four goals and four assists in his last five games against Washington.
The Capitals defeated Dallas 4-3 on Thursday, their second straight win following a six-game losing skid. They have scored nine goals in their last two games after scoring nine during their entire losing streak, and have not won three consecutive games since closing out last season with a three-game winning streak.
Olaf Kolzig made 35 saves on Thursday to finally defeat the only NHL franchise he had never beaten.
“I think that rounds off the NHL, doesn’t it?” said Kolzig, who was previously 0-9-1 against the Stars.
Kolzig is 13-11 with two ties and a 2.41 GAA in his career against the Sabres.
Alex Ovechkin had a frustrating game against the Stars, missing a penalty shot and breaking three sticks in the first two periods. Thursday’s win ended a three-game goal scoring streak for Ovechkin, who has two goals and five assists in four career games against Buffalo.
Washington has won just one of its last five home games.
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Tom Poti D