Sabres, Capitals hit rough patches, look to reverse course


After solid starts to the season in October, November has been a different story so far for the Buffalo Sabres and Washington Capitals. Both will try to get back on track when the teams meet in Washington, D.C., on Monday.

The Sabres lost their fourth straight on Saturday, falling in overtime to the Detroit Red Wings after holding a two-goal lead in the third period. It was the third time in the past five games in which Buffalo has held a multi-goal lead, only to have it erased. They are 1-1-1 in those games.

“I think it’s just small mistakes in the wrong situations of the game,” forward Rasmus Asplund said. “(Saturday), I think they didn’t have a single scoring chance until they scored the 3-2 goal there, which means we’re doing the right thing until that point. From there, we just need to learn. We need to be able to hold a two-goal lead, a three-goal lead, even a one-goal lead.

“We need to be able to do that if we want to be a winning and successful team. I think everybody just needs to learn from those situations and go to themselves and think about what we need to do to hold that lead.”

Asplund has been one of the Sabres’ most consistent players thus far, entrusted by coach Don Granato in all situations while averaging 17:36 of ice time through 11 games — second among the team’s forwards after Tage Thompson. He’s made those minutes count, leading the team in scoring with 10 points.

“I feel good. I feel confident,” Asplund said. “Obviously, the points are getting in there, too, and I’m just trying to maintain that feeling and still be confident and still trying to develop and get better.”

Sabres winger Victor Olofsson will miss his fourth straight game with an undisclosed injury. Goalie Craig Anderson, who spent last season with Washington, didn’t play Saturday with an upper-body injury and is considered day to day.

The Capitals dropped their third straight, falling 2-1 to the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday.

“We seemed sleepy in the first and outworked in the second (on Saturday),” Capitals coach Peter Laviolette said. “So the third I thought we had some game going on and we were pushing trying to get a win. But it’s difficult to try and win hockey games relying on coming from behind by two goals in the third period to have to win a game. We need to be better earlier.”

Washington has struggled on the power play of late, converting on just two of 15 opportunities with the man advantage over the past four games.

Alex Ovechkin was held off the scoresheet Saturday and remains one goal behind Brett Hull (741) for fourth place in NHL history.

Washington is 1-2-2 in its past five games.

It’s the first meeting of the season between the two clubs.

–Field Level Media

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