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Matteson leads by 1 in Malaysia; Woods 3 back

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Matteson leads by 1 in Malaysia; Woods 3 back

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) Tiger Woods birdied five holes on the back nine in his first trip back to Malaysia since winning the 1999 World Cup to end the day three strokes behind first-round leader Troy Matteson at the CIMB Classic on Thursday.

Matteson made eight birdies in a bogey-free 8-under 63 for a one-stroke lead over fellow Americans Jeff Overton, Brian Harman and Robert Garrigus.

Woods was 2 under early, but slipped to even par after nine holes after par putts lipped out on the eighth and ninth.

The 14-time major winner started his comeback with a birdie putt over an incline from 20 feet on the 10th, the first of his five birdies on the back nine as he finished with a 66 on the 6,197-yard Mines Resort and Golf Club course.

With the temperature hitting 93 degrees and high humidity, Woods appeared frustrated at times as he narrowly missed putts for birdies - including one from 10 feet on the 18th as storm clouds swirled overhead - on top of the two short putts he missed for par. But he didn't blame the conditions.

``What is frustrating is turning at even par and I'm eight back,'' he said. ``I feel like I just got run over there. Wind is picking up a bit and it's going to get more difficult.

``Three or four under par was my number on the back nine - if I could shoot that, I'm still right in the ballgame. I happened to get one more, which was a bonus.''

Woods knew he could have shot a score that would have put him higher than tied for seventh, but he was generally happy with his game.

``I really started hitting the ball quite well at the end of the front nine. I happened to miss two short putts,'' he said. ``Realistically it could have been seven or eight (under). But even at the turn, and still post five (under), it was a nice little comeback.

``It's going to take 20-plus this week to win the tournament, so I've got to be aggressive and we've got to go get it.''

Matteson had birdies on Nos. 2, 3, 6 and 11 and finished with four straight, closing his round by holing his third shot from the greenside bunker on the par-4 18th.

``The pin is really tricky on 18. I knew I'd be doing good if I could leave myself seven or eight feet for par, and it bounced and slam-dunked in the hole,'' Matteson said. ``That's the first time all year the ball has managed to hit the pin and stay in the hole.''

Matteson placed second at the John Deere Classic in July and had three top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour in 2012 but is yet to win a title. The co-sanctioned $6.1 million CIMB Classic doesn't count for points on the tour this year, but will be added to the schedule in 2013, making it a good title to win.

Defending CIMB champion Bo Van Pelt, 1 under after an opening 70, was coming off a win last week at the Perth International, which was jointly sanctioned by the European and Australasian tours. Jason Dufner, who was second to Van Pelt last week, was 3 under and in a share of 16th.

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NHL Power Rankings: A rough week

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USA TODAY Sports

NHL Power Rankings: A rough week

The Caps are coming off of one of, if not the worst week of their season. Washington has now lost three of four games and all three of those losses came in devastating fashion.

On Feb. 11, the Caps hosted a scuffling Detroit Red Wings team and saw the Wings build a 4-1 lead in the second period, a period in which the Caps were outshot 17-2. Washington battled back to tie the game, but ultimately lost in overtime. Tuesday in Winnipeg the Caps held a 3-1 lead in the third period, but allowed the Jets to mount a comeback and tie the game with just 15 seconds remaining in regulation before losing in overtime. Then, of course, there was Saturday's 7-1 blowout at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks, a team that had lost eight straight coming into that game.

SEE THIS WEEK'S NHL POWER RANKINGS HERE

To make matters worse, the Pittsburgh Penguins keep on winning and now hold a one-point lead over Washington. So yeah, things were not great.

The bad news is that, with the recent surges of Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and even New Jersey, the Caps have to figure things out fast or they could continue to fall in the standings fairly quickly.

The good news is that they still remain in a relatively good position should they rebound. The Penguins do hold a one-point lead in the standings, but the Caps remain very much in the driver's seat of the division with three games in hand.

Four games separate Washington from the Feb. 26 trade deadline. The Caps will play in Buffalo, host Tampa Bay, play in Florida and host Buffalo. Winning three of those four games, especially if they can beat the dominant Lightning, will go a long way towards putting last week in the rearview mirror. Another tough week, however, could force the hand of general manager Brian MacLellan to make an unanticipated move at the trade deadline in order to keep a playoff season from falling apart.

After a week like that, it's no surprise to see Washington fall in this week's NHL Power Rankings. You can see the full rankings here.

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Game 59: Capitals at Sabres Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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Game 59: Capitals at Sabres Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Buffalo Sabres

Where: KeyBank Center, Buffalo, N.Y.

When: 3:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Sabres will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Sabres game on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.

You can also stream the game online with no cable TV subscription on fuboTV (try for free!).

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

The Capitals (33-18-7) take on the Sabres (17-31-11) Monday, February 19 at 3:00 p.m. ET in Buffalo.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME ON?

The Capitals-Sabres game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 2:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 2:30 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 6:00 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 7:00 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

2:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
2:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
3:00 p.m. — Capitals at Sabres
5:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
6:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime
7:00 p.m. — Caps in 30

WHAT ARE THE PROJECTED LINES FOR THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Sabres game:

Forwards
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Jakub Vrana - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie
Brett Connolly - Lars Eller - Andre Burakovsky
Chandler Stephenson - Jay Beagle - Devante Smith-Pelly

Defensemen
Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Madison Bowey

Philipp Grubauer starts with Braden Holtby as backup

Scratches: Alex Chiasson, Taylor Chorney

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

The Capitals-Sabres game, as well as Caps GameTime and Caps Extra, is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.

The game is also available to stream, along with all the pregame and postgame shows, on fuboTV (try for free).

CAPITALS-SABRES OPEN THREAD

Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.