- The Washington Capitals are -132 away favorites as they face the Buffalo Sabres in an NHL game on Friday
- NHL picks record 1-0 (0.86 units won)
- It’s the second meeting in as many nights between Buffalo and Washington
For the second time in as many nights, the Washington Capitals are in Buffalo to face the Sabres. With its shortened 56-game intra-divisional schedule, the NHL is seeking to try and hold COVID-19 at bay by having teams play back-to-back contests in the same city.
These East Division rivals will provide an early test of that theory. Other ramifications from playing on consecutive nights against the same team is that it may ramp up the intensity by building rivalries.
The oddsmakers aren’t buying into the rivalry factor, at least not initiallly. The Capitals were -125 favorites to topple the Sabres on Thursday, and they’re the -132 chalk for the Friday encounter.
Entering Thursday’s games, the Sabres had won two straight and three of four from the Capitals in Buffalo.
Washington Capitals vs Buffalo Sabres Odds
|Washington Capitals||-130||-1.5 (+210)||O 6.5 (+110)|
|Buffalo Sabres||+110||+1.5 (-250)||U 6.5 (-130)|
Odds taken Jan. 14th at FanDuel.
Game time Friday Jan. 15th is 7pm EST at KeyBank Center. The MSG Network is carrying the broadcast.
Capitals Are Road Warriors
Last season, Washington led the NHL in scoring on the road. The Capitals averaged 3.44 goals per game away from home.
However, the Caps were struggling to find the back of the net during games in Buffalo. Over the last four games there through the end of last season, Washington counted a total of just eight goals in four trips to Buffalo.
Viiiiiiibe ✔️#ALLCAPS | @Enterprise pic.twitter.com/i6aUPaUhzr
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) January 14, 2021
That’s two goals per game, well below their average.
Last season, Washington was 6-2-1 in the second game of back-to-backs. That included a 4-2-0 road slate.
A Familiar Foe
Lately, Buffalo is seeing more of Washington than federal politicians. Friday will mark the third consecutive meeting between the Sabres and the Capitals.
Buffalo closed out the COVID-19 shortened 2019-20 regular season with a 3-2 home-ice win over Washington. The Sabres got off to a strong start last season. They opened 5-0-1 and were 9-2-1 through the end of October.
Pregame setup ?#LetsGoBuffalo pic.twitter.com/PtHP0fVsxs
— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) January 14, 2021
Yet they still missed the playoffs for the ninth successive season.
Capitals defenseman Michal Kempny is out 6-8 months after undergoing surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon. Goalie Henrik Lundqvist (heart surgery) is out for the season.
The Washington Capitals have placed goaltender Henrik Lundqvist (heart) and defenceman Michal Kempný (Achilles) on long term injured reserve. pic.twitter.com/J2bEb9uuGM
— Complete Hockey News (@CompleteHkyNews) January 13, 2021
Sabres forward Zemgus Girgenson is expected to be sidelined six months after he underwent surgery on a damaged hamstring.
The Capitals were the NHL’s #2 offense during the 2019-20 campaign. Washington averaged 3.42 goals per game. Washington opened last season 13-2-3. averaging 4.11 goals per game through their first 18 games.
The Caps displayed an NHL-leading .786 win percentage in games decided by two goals. By contrast, the Sabres were 26th in the NHL in games decided by two goals, showing a .357 winning percentage.
F Taylor Hall will wear jersey number 4 for the Buffalo Sabres. Number last worn by Zach Bogosian in 2019-20. #Sabres pic.twitter.com/oKnzBwF2b1
— NHL Jersey Numbers (@NHLNewNumbers) January 10, 2021
Overall, Washington is 12-4 in its last six games against Buffalo. Prior to Thursday’s game, Washington was 1-4 straight up over its last five road games, and 0-5 against the puckline.
The additions of former Hart Trophy winner Taylor Hall, veteran Eric Staal and rookie Dylan Cozens should boost Buffalo’s power-play unit. It ranked 20th in the NHL last season.
Carter Hutton showing Jack Eichel and Taylor Hall how to score… pic.twitter.com/7C99y7oeYF
— World Hockey Report (@worldhockeyrpt) January 9, 2021
Playing a second game in as many days, expect both teams to go with their backup goalie. Buffalo’s Carter Hutton will be working in familiar surroundings. Washington’s Craig Anderson will be making his debut with his new team.
Pick: Buffalo Sabres (+110), 1 unit.