Christmas may be over, but there's still time left to enjoy season's greetings. Monday, however, the Washington Capitals return to the site of one of their most unwelcoming games of the season when they face the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center.
A 5-1 loss to the Sabres November 26 proved fatal for former head coach Bruce Boudreau, who was fired two days later after the Caps lost to a team missing nine regulars. Buffalo is still missing several starters, such as Thomas Vanek (upper-body), Tyler Ennis (ankle), Jochen Hecht (lower-body), Nathan Gerbe (concussion), Tyler Myers (wrist), Brad Boyes (lower-body) and Ville Leino (lower-body). Yet, Vanek, Myers and Boyes could play Monday.
Entering action Monday, Washington is 10th in the Eastern Conference, just three points behind eighth-place Ottawa. The Caps, however, have only played 33 games; no team in the East has played fewer than that. Buffalo is one point behind Washington in 1qth place, so a Caps win will give them a three-point lead.
Jason Chimera's two goals in the third period brought the Caps back from a 3-0 deficit Friday against the New Jersey Devils, but the Cap ultimately lost 4-3 in a shootout. Washington has earned points in six of its last 10 games.