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Buffalo Sabres Look for Offensive Revival Against Washington Capitals

January 12th, 2014 at 11:30 AM
By Paul Lane Sabres 101

The Buffalo Sabres enter today's game against the Washington Capitals (3 p.m., MSG) in the midst of an offensive dry spell that's remarkable even by their standards.

Buffalo has only six goals in its last five goals. One of those goals isn't even really a goal – it's the one they get credit for in earning a shootout win over these same Capitals two weeks ago.

'095-002 // Ott, D'Agostini and Leino (12/5/2013)' photo (c) 2013, grilled cheese - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

That the Sabres have won two of those games is a credit to their goaltending. Since Dec. 29, Ryan Miller has stopped 98 out of 103 shots in three starts (he's third in the NHL on the year with 997 saves). And Jhonas Enroth has taken two losses despite saving 35 shots Thursday against Florida and 23 saves New Year's Eve against Winnipeg.

"We had a couple good chances, but we don't put the pucks away, so it's nor really Grade-A chances for us," Enroth said after Thursday's game.

The Sabres – in theory – will have reinforcements today in that regard. Cody Hodgson was activated from the injured reserve list Saturday, while VIlle Leino also took part in practice. Both are expected to play.

Hodgson missed eight games with an upper-body injury. The Sabres went 3-3-2 in that span but have only 12 goals over those games.

"The team's been getting a lot of points, especially at home, so it's good to watch and learn some things and how I can fit in a little better," said Hodgson, who leads the club with 19 points (eight goals, 11 assists).

The Sabres will still be without Cody McCormick, Kevin Porter, Drew Stafford and Henrik Tallinder, all of whom remain in injured reserve. Brayden McNabb could be back in the lineup, though, as he was recalled after a one-game stint with the Rochester Americans.

The Caps have won two in a row, most recently a 3-2 win Friday over the Toronto Maple Leafs. They enter the game at 22-16-6, good for second in the Metropolitan Division. Alexander Ovechkin leads them with 32 goals (the Sabres have 75 as a team), while Nicklas Backstrom paces them with 48 points. Their power play (25.5 percent success rate) is tops in the NHL.

Tags: Alexander Ovechkin, Buffalo Sabres, Cody Hodgson, Hockey, Jhonas Enroth, NHL, Ville Leino, Washington, Washington Capitals

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