WASHINGTON -- So Nicolas Deslauriers has come to D.C. as the public enemy No. 1.
The Sabres forward had a dicey meeting with the Washington Capitals when the teams met in Buffalo on Monday. First, he put a crushing hit on Justin Williams and inadvertently cut him with his stick. Then he accepted a fight with Michael Latta, winning convincingly and whooping it up en route to the penalty box.
At the Caps morning skate, Washington reporters asked Williams about the fight: "Nothing epitomizes a team more than people sticking up for each other — although I deemed it unnecessary."
Spectators will be looking for Revenge Part II Wednesday night during the Sabres-Caps rematch. But Deslauriers said things could be tame ... or not.
"It can go both ways. It can be nothing or it could be something," Deslauriers said after the team's morning skate at Verizon Center. "For me, it’s just play the same game. Be physical. I’m ready to respond to anything. ... I don’t think about it at all. If it happens, it happens. If not to win a game you have to score some goals. So the focus is on scoring goals."
Sabres coach Dan Bylsma didn't play much with the Deslauriers vs. the Caps storyline. "I’m not sure I know how wound up they are. ... They took exception in," Monday's "game and I believe they came out and answered that situation with the fight with Latta, so I don’t know if they’re more worked up about than that."
Chad Johnson will get the start with the rest of the lineup a game-time decision.
Lines at the morning skate including flipping Jack Eichel and Johan Larsson:
The reason for the line changes?
"I think a little bit on the road here as well, Larsson’s been more of a matchup guy and flipping them has Larsson in that role," Bylsma said. "Jack’s got, Girgensons and Gionta "so all three lines can be in a good defensive situation. On the road tonight with not having the last change we need that because they’ll try to take advantage of us with offensive zone starts and putting their good guys on the ice."