The Capitals are aiming for their fourth straight win on Thursday against the Sabres, an important stretch ahead of the final 12 games of the season in which Washington will face all teams with winning records. But the biggest storyline Thursday has nothing to do with the Sabres and everything to do with one of the faces of the Capitals franchise.
Nicklas Backstrom is set to play in his 1,000th career game - all with Washington - becoming just the second player in franchise history to reach the milestone alongside Alex Ovechkin.
The fourth overall pick in the 2006 NHL Draft, Backstrom leads his class in both assists (714) and points (971) and will become the fourth player drafted that year to reach 1,000 games.
Here's everything you need to know about the game.
CAPITALS VS. SABRES HOW TO WATCH
What: Buffalo Sabres at Washington Capitals
Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.
When: Thursday, April 15, 2021, at 7 p.m. ET
TV Channel: Capitals vs. Sabres will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (NBC Sports channel finder)
Live Stream: You can live stream Capitals vs. Sabres on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the MyTeams app.
CAPITALS VS. SABRES TV SCHEDULE
6:00 PM: Capitals Pregame Live
7:00 PM: Capitals vs. Sabres
9:30 PM: Capitals Postgame Live
CAPITALS VS. SABRES WHAT TO WATCH
- The Capitals' offense has exploded during their three-game winning streak, averaging six goals per game. Their 14 goals across the last two games is the most they've scored in any two game stretch since 2003, and facing the woeful Sabres, they'll have a chance for another big day on the ice.
- Alex Ovechkin is still on fire for the Caps after another goal on Tuesday. He is now tied for fourth in the NHL in goals this season, and he's just four goals shy of passing Marcel Dionne for the fifth-most in NHL history. Like every other team he's faced, Ovechkin has dominated the Sabres in his career. Can he inch even closer to Dionne on Thursday?
- The Caps and Sabres were both active at the trade deadline, with Washington playing the role of buyer and Buffalo a seller. Anthony Mantha had an enjoyable first game for the Capitals, but sometimes adding players can lead to an adjustment period. The Caps will be hoping that Mantha continues to fit in quickly in Washington, and he'll have the chance to add to his impressive opening week on Thursday.
CAPITALS VS. SABRES PLAYERS TO WATCH
Capitals: Nicklas Backstrom, C (43 games, 14 goals, 30 assists, 44 points). How could it be anybody else? Backstrom is the man of the hour, set to play in his 1,000th career game. It's a remarkable milestone for the longtime Capital. And oh by the way, he also still leads the Capitals in points on the season.
Sabres: Rasmus Ristolainen, D (35 games, 4 goals, 9 assists, 13 points). Ristolainen has struggled to put points on the board this season, but he recorded two assists in the Sabres' most recent meeting with the Caps last week. He also had a team-high six hits in the effort. It was just his fourth multi-point game on the season, but his second against Washington. The Caps will hope to prevent him from doing it again on Thursday.