Capitals vs. Sabres: Lineup Notes, Kuemper Gets Back-To-Back Starts
Darcy Kuemper gets back-to-back starts, Marcus Johansson sits out again and more as the Washington Capitals brace for the Buffalo Sabres.
After snapping a six-game losing streak with a convincing 6-3 win over the New York Rangers just 24 hours ago, the Washington Capitals are getting right back into action against the Buffalo Sabres, where they could see some changes in what is to date their most important game yet down the stretch.
Washington is tied with Buffalo for the second Wild Card spot in the East. With a win, the Capitals can jump right back into playoff position and continue their climb up the standings. However, it won't come easy against Tage Thompson, Rasmus Dahlin and the impressive arsenal that has lifted the Sabres up the standings.
The Capitals saw newest acquisition Craig Smtih make his D.C. debut on Saturday after being acquired from Boston for Dmitry Orlov and Garnet Hathaway back on Thursday. He fit in well on the second line with Nicklas Backstrom and Conor Sheary, and will remain there as Marcus Johansson, who missed Saturday's game with a non-COVID illness, will sit out again.
Meanwhile, Darcy Kuemper will start in net following a strong showing against New York, marking the first time he will start on consecutive days. The 32-year-old netminder had split back-to-back games with Charlie Lindgren so far this season and started the first game of the last seven back-to-back sets, but the team has gone 1-5-1 over that stretch. Kuemper will now have started six of the last seven games.
Here are what the lines look like for the 1 p.m. ET puck drop at KeyBank Center.
Alex Ovechkin-Evgeny Kuznetsov-Tom Wilson
Conor Sheary-Nicklas Backstrom-Craig Smith
Sonny Milano-Dylan Strome-T.J. Oshie
Lars Eller-Nic Dowd-Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Erik Gustafsson-Trevor van Riemsdyk
Martin Fehervary-Nick Jensen
Matt Irwin-Dylan McIlrath