Five things to know as the Sabres host the Capitals - The Buffalo News

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Five things to know as the Sabres host the Capitals

The Buffalo Sabres will continue to look to right the ship in KeyBank Center Tuesday night as they host the Washington Capitals at 7 p.m. Here's what you need to know for tonight's game:

1. The Sabres are looking for their second home win. Buffalo is just 1-3-1 in KeyBank Center. The Sabres only home win was Oct. 24 against the Detroit Red Wings while they picked up the one point in the opener on Oct. 5 when they lost in a shootout to the Montreal Canadiens. Granted, the Sabres haven't played much at home as the first month of the season has been a heavy road schedule.

Robin Lehner will get the start in goal, making his 11th appearance of the season.

2. The power play, for both teams, is telling. The Sabres are worse off, ranking second-last in the NHL by converting just 12.5 percent (6 for 48) of their power-play opportunities. Buffalo's power play is clicking at 14.3 percent (3 for 21) at home.

The Caps, meanwhile, were pretty bad on the power play at home, tied for 29th in the league at just 8.0 percent (2 for 25). Alex Ovechkin scored a power play goal in the Caps' Monday night win over Arizona for the team's second power play goal at home this season.

Ah, but Washington's power play on the road is a different story. The Caps rank fourth in the NHL on the road with their power play converting at 29.2 percent (7 for 24).

"Historically Washington's always had really strong special teams," Sabres coach Phil Housley said. "You look at their power play, it's been No. 1 in the league or top five in the last five years. Every team goes through some of those times where they struggle in one area and are better in another. Right now they have a great power play on the road. We know we have to focus on staying out of the box."

3. Welcome Zach Redmond. While Housley said both Redmond and Matt Tennyson would be game-time decisions on Buffalo's blueline, look for Redmond to play his third game with the Sabres and Tennyson to be out. Tennyson took part in the morning skate on Tuesday, but left the ice early and was with the team's training staff.  Tennyson was injured in Monday's practice when he took a shot from Jack Eichel off his ankle while the team practiced the power play.

More moves on D: Redmond up, Tennyson a question mark

4. So. No. Guhle. While the Sabres have had injury after injury on the blueline, the team has not considered recalling defeseman Brendan Guhle from Rochester. Guhle, who played three games with the Sabres last season on an emergency recall stint from his major-junior team, has eight points in 11 games with the Amerks.

Housley said those decisions are made by Sabres GM Jason Botterill.

"That's Jason's decision," Housley said. "I think he's doing a great job developing where he is right now. It's fair to say we don't want to rush him. He's in a good spot. He's playing well. He's getting the minutes right now that I think is going to help carry his game and develop him."

Was Guhle even in consideration for a recall?

"No, not at all at this point," Housley said. "We want to have him develop in the right area and continue to make strides in his development. There are lot of players in this league that have been up and gone down and it's OK. The American League is a pretty good hockey league and it's a good place to develop."

5. Season debut for Nick Baptiste. The forward will play in his first NHL game of the season. At the morning skate he was on a line with Sam Reinhart and Seth Griffith. Baptiste had three goals and five points in eight games with the Amerks.

"I really like the way that line practiced yesterday," Housley said of the Baptiste-Reinhart-Griffith line. "I thought (Baptiste) brought a lot of speed, and that's what I'm looking for. I think Nick is a guy that can go hard to the net, be physical in that area, provide some of the net-front presence that we've been lacking in our team and where we've been focusing on getting better at."

Sabres' Baptiste practices on Reinhart's line, could play Tuesday

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