Here are a few facts about the Sabres-Capitals game that starts in less than two hours, courtesy of the team-supplied game notes.
From the Sabres:
FIVE THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW…
This is Buffalo’s third game of a season-high six game homestand… Paul Gaustad will play in his 400th career NHL game today…Buffalo has now lost two games in a row for the first time since Dec. 23 vs. FLA and Dec. 27 @ CGY… Drew Stafford has 12 points (9+3) in his last nine games… Friday’s 3-0 defeat to St. Louis was just Buffalo’s fourth shutout loss of the season; first since Nov. 24.
From the Caps:
FIVE MORE NOTES NO MEDIA PERSON SHOULD BE WITHOUT
Hockey Day in America –In light of this weekend’s celebration of the sport of hockey across America, it’s important to note there are four current Capitals who originally hail from the United States: forwards Matt Hendricks (Blaine, Minn.) and David Steckel (Milwaukee, Wisc.) and defensemen John Carlson (Natick, Mass.) and Tom Poti (Worcester, Mass.).
Back-to-Backs –The Capitals are in the midst of a stretch that will seem them play three consecutive sets of back-to-back games. After splitting a set at Anaheim (7-6 win on Wednesday) and San Jose (3-2 loss on Thursday), they now play in Buffalo today and at Pittsburgh on Monday. After that, the team does not play again until hosting the Rangers on Friday and playing at the Islanders next Saturday. The Capitals are 3-4-2 in the first games of back-to-backs and 3-5-1 in the second game.
Not Getting Five –Goaltender Michal Neuvirth has played the most games of any NHL goalie this season without allowing more than four goals in a game. In 34 games in 2010-11, Neuvirth has not allowed more than five goals in a game.
Heating up –Alex Ovechkin has recorded a goal and an assist in each of the last two games and has nine points (4-5-9) in the last seven games. Thursday at San Jose, the captain also finished with seven shots on goal, four hits and logged over 20 minutes of ice time for the 11th straight game. Ovechkin leads the Caps with 60 points (23-37-60) in 59 games.
Hat Trick Hero –Alexander Semin recorded his seventh career hat trick and fourth of the season in Wednesday’s wild 7-6 victory over Anaheim. Semin tied the game at 6 midway through the third period with his second goal of the game, then completed the trick by netting the game-winning goal with under two minutes to play. Semin joins Buffalo’s Drew Stafford as the only NHL players with four hat tricks this season and is the first Capital with four three-goal games in a season since Peter Bondra in 1995-96.