Pregame primer: Caps visit struggling Sabres

Pregame primer: Caps visit struggling Sabres
January 28, 2014, 4:00 pm
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(Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports)

News and notes as the Capitals [23-21-8, 54 points] visit the Sabres [14-30-7, 35 points] at First Niagara Arena tonight in Buffalo [7:30 p.m., NBCSN]:

What it means: The Caps are three points out of a playoff spot in the East and are coming off a 5-0 win in Montreal that snapped a seven-game losing streak. The Sabres own the NHL’s worst record but have beaten the Caps twice this season in shootouts, each by 2-1 scores. The Sabres have lost six of their last seven. The Caps have lost seven of their last eight.

Power points: Of Alex Ovechkin’s team-leading 51 points this season, 24 have come on the power play. Of Nicklas Backstrom’s 49 points, 27 are on the power play. And of Marcus Johansson’s 32 points, 16 are on the man-advantage.

[RELATED: Chimera says Caps are still in it]

Jhonas brother: Since Ryan Miller has started four of the last five games for the Sabres, goaltender Jhonas Enroth will get the call. Enroth has not won a game since Oct. 25. He is 0-8-3 in his last 11 decisions.

Back-to-backs: The Sabres are 1-4-2 in the second end of back-to-back games this season.

Olympians: Enroth and defenseman Henrik Tallinder will join Nicklas Backstrom as members of the Swedish Olympic team. Ryan Miller will be teammates with John Carlson on the American squad.

So respectable: Since bottoming out at 7-23-3 on Dec. 14, the Sabres have gone 7-7-4.

Ovi watch: Alex Ovechkin is four points shy of passing Mike Gartner [789] for second on the Caps’ all-tine points list.

Holtby on track: Braden Holtby stopped all 21 shots he faced in a 5-0 win in Montreal Saturday night, his ninth career shutout. Holtby now ranks fourth on Washington’s all-time shutout list, trailing only Olie Kolzig [35], Jim Carey [14] and Don Beaupre [12].

I Carly: Caps defenseman John Carlson scored his ninth goal of the season against Montreal, tying his career high for most goals in a season. In the last two seasons, Carlson’s 15 goals ranks third among NHL defenseman born in the U.S., trailing only Dustin Byfuglien [20] and Keith Yandle ([6].

No O in Buffal: The Sabres are last in the NHL with 91 goals. That’s 24 fewer than the Calgary Flames, who rank 29th, and 51 fewer than the Caps, who rank 15th.

What’s next: The Capitals will practice in Ohio on Wednesday, then visit the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday. They close out their road trip in Detroit on Friday night.