In this season where finding The Incredible Sabres Stat of the Day takes about 30 seconds, I found a couple heading into tonight's game against the Washington Capitals that are just flat-out astounding:
1). The Sabres have 20 power-play goals on the season (in 184 attempts). Caps star Alex Ovechkin has 21 power-play goals on his own.
2). With Andrej Meszaros' three goals removed from the lineup tonight, the Sabres will field a team of 18 skaters who have totaled a measly 65 goals for Buffalo this season. Only Tyler Ennis (17) and Matt Moulson (10) are in double figures.
Ovechkin on his own? An NHL-leading 45.
To steal a basketball term in this week of March Madness, the Sabres would do well to take the air out of this game tonight so Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom & Co. can't get heated up. And they need to stay out of the penalty box too. The Caps scored a pair of power-play goals in their 6-1 win over Buffalo on March 7 in Verizon Center, including this sizzling wrister by Ovechkin that burned Matt Hackett.
Should an NHL goalie make this save on a shot to the short side? Most definitely. Still, it's Ovechkin. Not many players can shoot it like that. He likes to hang on that off-wing for one-time slappers. Every team knows it and few can stop it.
The Caps lead the NHL on the power play at 25 percent and are a sparkling 7 for 15 this month. The Sabres are last on the penalty kill at 74.7 percent but they're 22nd at home (81.3).
"They're offensively gifted and we need to make sure we're working their D and not feeding their transition," said Sabres captain Brian Gionta. They've got guys who can make plays and we have to not create stuff for them in the neutral zone so we have to limit turnovers."
Here's some other Sabres-Caps numbers of note:
Ovechkin career vs. BUF: 35 GP, 23G, 15A, 38 pts
Backstrom career vs. BUF: 27 GP, 8G, 17A, 25 Pts
One-goal games: BUF 15-11-6, WSH 16-13-10
Decided by two goals or more: BUF 4-32 (!), WSH 21-10
Scoring first: BUF 17-13-2, WSH 31-2-4
Opponent scores first: BUF 2-30-4, WSH 6-21-6
Leading after first period: BUF 8-6-0, WSH 22-2-2
Trailing after first period: BUF 2-24-2, WSH 2-11-4
Leading after 2nd period: BUF 9-2-3, WSH 30-2-3
Trailing after 2nd period: BUF 1-31-1, WSH 1-15-2
OT record: BUF 1-2, WSH 4-6
Shootout record: BUF 7-4, WSH 3-4