The Buffalo Sabres would like to start winning at home since they are aiming for the best record in the NHL and home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs.
Buffalo looks to avoid losing its fourth straight game at HSBC Arena on Wednesday when it meets the Washington Capitals—one of the worst road teams in the league.
The Sabres (46-19-7) have the most points in the Eastern Conference and have already clinched a playoff berth, but have not been playing well lately. They have lost five of their last seven games, including three straight at home.
Buffalo is the highest-scoring team in the league with 271 goals, but has been held to five goals during the home skid. The Sabres have not lost four in a row at home since Oct. 26-Nov. 9, 2005.
While Buffalo has been struggling at home, the Capitals (26-34-13) have been playing even worse on the road. Washington has lost four straight road games and is 2-15-2 away from the Verizon Center since Dec. 26.
Buffalo has won four of its last five home games over the Capitals, including a 6-3 victory on Dec. 26. The Sabres are returning home after losing 4-3 in overtime to Southeast Division-leading Atlanta on Sunday to finish 2-0-2 on their road trip.
“It was the best game we played on the trip,” coach Lindy Ruff said. “If you look at it from the chances we created and the ones we gave up, we didn’t give up much tonight. We generated quite a few. We had opportunities to win it, but we missed on some great opportunities.”
Ryan Miller continued to struggle for Buffalo as he fell to 1-3-2 with a 3.38 goals-against average since March 7. He was 7-1-1 with a 2.51 GAA in his previous nine games.
Miller was pulled in his first game against the Capitals this season after allowing three goals on nine shots in just under eight minutes. He is 2-1-0 with a 4.18 GAA in his career against them.
Washington is coming off a 7-1 victory over Tampa Bay on Sunday and has won back-to-back games for the first time since winning three straight from Jan. 4-9.
“When you’re slumping, sooner or later you’re going to come out of it,” Semin said. “The bad luck (has) ended now.”
Alexander Ovechkin failed to record a point for the fifth time in his last eight games Sunday. He has registered a point in all six career games against the Sabres, though, scoring four goals and adding five assists in those contests.
The Capitals are 2-0-1 since goalie Olaf Kolzig returned to the lineup after going 1-8-4 in the 13 games he missed with a knee injury.
Kolzig made 30 saves against the Lightning and has allowed just one goal in each of his last two games. He is 2-1-0 with a 2.85 GAA in four games against Buffalo since the start of last season.
These teams conclude their season series on April 7 in Washington.