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Welcome to Caps 'Round the Clock, a blog covering the Washington Capitals and the NHL. In season, I update the Blog after every practice and on game day with Caps news and information, and then provide a recap and analysis after each contest. I also write a periodical Prospect Watch and weekly feature pieces on the state of the Men in Red and other things Capitals. And of course, I will post videos and tidbits from around the League and offer my two cents as the season wears on. In the offseason, I write a Report Card for each player, and will keep you updated on all the news about the Caps through the summer. I'm glad you're here, and hope you come back!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Gameday: vs. Buffalo, Dec. 30

Are the boys back in town? Remains to be seen.
The Washington Capitals will welcome the Buffalo Sabres to Verizon Center on Friday night as they attempt to build on some of the momentum they collected with their superb win over the Rangers on Wednesday night and in the process, buck their disturbing recent trend of playing very well for a game an then falling apart in their next contest.  The Caps enter tonight's game 5-4-1 in their last ten and 18-15-2 overall for 37 standings points.  Those 37 points place them third in the Southeast Division, seven back of the Panthers, and tenth in the Eastern Conference, one back of the final playoff spot.  The Sabres, who have also struggled recently (except when they play the Caps), are 3-5-2 in their last ten and 17-16-3 overall for 37 standings points.  That total has them in fourth place in the Northeast Division and eleventh in the Eastern Conference.  This is the third meeting between these two clubs this season; the Sabres have won both previous games inside First Niagara Center by a combined score of 9-3.

Lindy Ruff's choice in nets will be Ryan Miller, despite the fact that he has started seven in a row and Buffalo has another game on Saturday at home against the Senators.  On the year, Miller is 9-9-2 with a 3.05 GAA, .902 save percentage, and one shutout.  Outside the crease, the Sabres will be missing several key components to their lineup because of injuries for this evening's contest. Defensemen Andrej Sekera (head) and Tyler Myers (wrist) are both out, as are forwards Ville Leino (lower body) and Nathan Gerbe (concussion).  Winger Tyler Ennis (ankle) is questionable.

Tomas Vokoun has been selected start his second game in a row following a solid performance against New York on Wednesday.  On the year, Vokoun is 13-8-0 with a 2.67 GAA, .911 save percentage, and one shutout.  He most recently faced the Sabres with a relief appearance on Monday, in which he stopped 16 of 17 shots in 47 minutes of action.  On the injury front, defenseman Mike Green is will not play as he continues to work his way back from a groin injury.  He has skated for three practices in a row and said after practice on Thursday he "could" be back tonight, but will wait.  Jeff Schultz and Mathieu Perreault will remain healthy scratches, as Dale Hunter sees no reason to change up a lineup that romped on one of the best teams in the East last time out.

Puck drops 7:08-ish.  Check back later.

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