The Sabres visit red hot Washington

November 01, 2019 - 12:59 pm

(WGR 550) - It's been a while since the Sabres have played a team with more points than them in the standings. Washington has 21 points while Buffalo has 20. If you go by point percentage, the 9-2-2 Sabres are second in the NHL at .769 while the Capitals are third at .750.

Marcus Johansson has played 501 of his 601 NHL games in Washington where he was a first round pick in 2009. The Sabres' center said it's still fun to go back to D.C., "Yes it is, it was my home for a long time, I have a lot of friends there and it's always a special place to go, so I'm looking forward to it."

In 14 games defenseman John Carlson has seven goals and 16 assists for 23 points. That ranks him third in league scoring and Johansson is not surprised at all, "I think he's getting better, he's gotten more and more responsibility over the last few years and he's been really good I think all the time, but it's cool to see that he keeps improving and at the rate he's going right now, its pretty insane."

Alex Ovechkin is third in league goal scoring with 11. Teams always try to slow him down, but they can't. In 48 career games against Buffalo the Washington captain has 32 goals and 48 points. Since he played with him so long, you'd think Johansson would know how to slow him down, "It's tough to answer, with Ovie the way he shoots the puck and the way he can score in many different ways, he feel like one of a kind."

Nicklas Backstrom is so good at carrying the puck and attacking the offensive zone, I can tell Johansson picked up some things from him in his game. Backstrom might be the Sabres best player and transitioning through the neutral zone and gaining the blue line. Johansson said he did learn a lot from Backstrom, "Yes, definitely, he's someone I've always looked up to and was fortunate enough to play with him for seven years and both on and off the ice I've learned a lot from him and I think it's very fortunate to see a player like that every day for that long and what he brings to the table every night."

Brandon Montour has said he's ready to play and has been working with the top six in practice. If he plays his first game of the season, John Gilmour would be scratched.

The Sabres have lost two of their last three games and are 2-1-1- in their last four. Goals have dried up lately as they only netted two in each of the last three games.

One player that does remain hot is Jack Eichel who has three goals and four assists for seven points in his last four games. Eichel is eighth in league scoring with 17 points in 13 games.

Linus Ullmark is coming off a 41 save shutout while Carter Hutton made 42 saves in the shootout loss to Arizona. Hutton is eighth in NHL goals against and save percentage at 2.21 and .926. Ullmark is fifth in league save percentage at .932. Overall the tandem has a .926 save percentage which only trails Boston.

Buffalo is back to second in league power play numbers at 29.8%. Boston leads at 30.9%.

Washington has won 6-of-7 games. They've scored five or more goals in four of their last six.

I talked about Carlson earlier and he has points in every game except two. Carlson also has a very high shooting percentage for a defenseman at 20%.

Join Schopp and the Bulldog for the pregame starting at 6:00 when they'll be joined by Ralph Krueger, Brandon Montour and Marcus Johansson.

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