The Buffalo Sabres and Washington Capitals are scheduled to meet for the second time in less than a week on Thursday night at Capital One Arena. In a Friday matchup in Buffalo, the Capitals emerged with a 4-3 win over the Sabres. Justin Schultz was the big winner for the Capitals in that one, as he scored a goal and helped with two more goals to lead the team in points.
Alexander Ovechkin netted his 21st goal of the season to help the Capitals notch a win in Buffalo against the lowly Sabres. Since the win against the Sabres, the Capitals have recorded two more wins against the Bruins, 8-1, and Flyers, 6-1. The Capitals have been throttling opponents with an onslaught of goals lately. They have won five of their last seven outings.
The most promising sign for the Capitals was that they didn’t have a letdown after a 8-1 win. It’s often easy for teams to take a night off after a big win like that. The Capitals didn’t, though, as they blew out another team for a 6-1 win. Ilya Samsonov was solid in net for the Capitals, while the goal scorers took care of the rest against the Flyers. Samsonov stopped 29 of 30 shots for a 0.967 save percentage.
For the Capitals to have success in the postseason, Samsonov has to find some consistency. He hasn’t been bad by any means, but spotty is a good way to describe his effort this season. The offence is clearly present for the Capitals. Ovechkin is aging like a fine wine, and they added a goal scorer in Anthony Mantha from the Red Wings.
Mantha was not playing up to expectations with the Wings this season, but a chance of scenery to a good team should serve him well. Mantha scored a goal and an assist in his first game as a Capital against the Flyers. It was a good move for the Capitals, who were able to acquire him at a cheaper price than would have been possible last year. If Mantha returns to 2018-19 form, then the Capitals are going to be tough to beat.
The Sabres threw in the towel a long time ago, but they’re still trying to hang in there and be competitive. They’ve gone 4-4 in their last eight games, and considering how ugly things were going in March, that’s a win for the Sabres. Buffalo is coming off a 3-2 OT loss against the Bruins. You can’t fault that effort for the 10-25-7 Sabres. However, goaltender Linus Ullmark left the game and is questionable to play tonight. Head below for our free Sabres vs. Capitals pick on April 15, 2021.
Buffalo Sabres vs. Washington Capitals NHL Betting Odds:
Sabres vs. Capitals Prediction:
Going .500 since March 31 feels like a successful run for the Sabres. This is a team that was on an 18-game losing streak. They finally won a game on the last day of March to end an 18-game losing streak. No team wanted to be the one responsible for ending the Sabres’ losing streak. They were going to win eventually, and the Flyers just happened to be that team. Since the win, the Sabres have beaten the Rangers, 3-2 OT, and Devils, 5-3. They also defeated the Flyers again most recently on Sunday, 5-3. If anything, at least the offence has been showing some form of a pulse in April.
After beating the Flyers to end their drought, the Sabres have scored at least 2 goals in every game and 3 goals in six of eight. The Sabres being more competitive is due to that and the return of Linus Ullmark to the crease. However, Ullmark seems to be banged up yet again, and may not be available to play tonight. Ullmark is listed as questionable for the Sabres. He’s dealing with a lower-body injury, and Carter Hutton is not scheduled to be back until at least until the end of the month.
Dustin Tokarski is listed as probable for the Sabres in net. Tokarski has been unloaded on this season. The 31-year-old has pretty well been an AHL lifer, with only 31 starts in his career. Tokarski has posted a 3.54 GAA and 0.905 save percentage going into Thursday in Washington. He’s doing what he can on a team with an awful defence that is giving up 32.6 shots per game for 28th in the league. The Sabres are 29th with 3.4 goals against per contest. Washington has been on fire offensively, with 18 goals scored in their last three games.
If Tokarski has to play tonight, then the onus is going to be on the Buffalo goal scorers to keep this close. I find it hard to believe that the Caps can’t score 5 goals with Tokarski between the pipes. The Sabres have scored 3.3 goals per game in their last ten games, but still conceding a whopping 36 shots per game. The Caps have been a bit below average defensively, having allowed 2.9 goals per game this year. In their last ten, they’ve yielded 3.2 per outing. There have been just over 6 goals scored per game in the last Sabres-Capitals’ games. I see this as a 5-3 or 5-2 game, so the OVER at plus money has to be worth a look.