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Braden Holtby first off the ice for Capitals

By Katie Carrera

It looks as though Braden Holtby will make his second NHL start against the Buffalo Sabres Saturday night after all. He was the first goaltender off the ice for the Capitals this morning at HSBC Arena and Michal Neuvirth is still working with presumed scratch D.J. King and the assistant coaches.

Holtlby will oppose last year's Vezina Trophy winner Ryan Miller, who is set to make his return to the Sabres net after missing the past six games with a knee injury.

"He's top goalie in the league. He's probably like 70 percent of the team and if he play great different guys feel better and play great too," Alex Ovechkin said about facing Miller. "It's a good challenge for us, I don't know how he feels we're going to have to make him work."

HSBC Arena hasn't always been the easiest place for the Capitals to play, and it hasn't been kind to the Sabres this year either. Buffalo is 0-6-1 at home.

"I just want to get back in the mix, get back playing and get in a rhythm here," Miller said. "It's a big challenge stepping back in against a good team, so just go back lighting the fire and trying to get our first win at home because it's become a little embarrassing."

Yesterday, Boudreau said he wasn't quite sure where rookie center Marcus Johansson fit better -- on the second line or third line. For the start of tonight's game at least, Johansson will center the second between Brooks Laich and Mike Knuble.

"I think they're all interchangeable," Boudreau said. "Fortunate or unfortunately I played with so many wingers that you just do what you do. And I found it always easy when another guy came in unless there's such good a good chemistry and right now we're still searching for the proper chemistry on still a lot of the units."

Although he considers many of the Capitals' forwards as easily rotatable, Boudreau added that part of the decision of where to put Johansson came down to the already comfortable familiarity between Tomas Fleischmann, Jason Chimera and Eric Fehr when they're on a line together.

"At the beginning of the year I didn't like as much the chemistry between Marcus, Fehr and Chimera," Boudreau said. "But when he played his last game in Boston, he was really good before he got hurt. I know [Alexander] Semin was on that line but I know Eric and Jason are really comfortable with Tom in the middle there. We'll see how it works and take it from there."

--It's not completely clear but Tom Poti may be the defensive scratch tonight after only just returning to the lineup Thursday against Tampa Bay after missing eight games with a groin injury. If that's the case Tyler Sloan will be back in and most likely paired with John Erskine.

By Katie Carrera  | November 13, 2010; 12:47 PM ET
Categories:  Braden Holtby, Buffalo Sabres, Marcus Johansson  
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Next: Tonight's lineup: Caps at Sabres


Katie notes that "HSBC Arena hasn't always been the easiest place for the Capitals to play..."

Buffalo in general wasn't good for the Caps in the 1970s. It was awful!

Posted by: Bartolo1 | November 13, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

GRRRRR... Sit Tyler F'ing Sloan unless someone is injured. This is the big leagues, not high school. These guys shouldn't get offended.

Posted by: BamaCapsFan | November 13, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Hey Katie, I hope you are able to enjoy some wings. I recommend medium hot with not too much sauce. Does Anchor Bar have a stand at HSBC?

If Poti is sitting, that means he is injured still/again. This will be a tough one tonight. Good chance the Caps are a bit flat after winning 4 in a row against the big boys. With Miller back and going against the Caps, the Sabres will be fired up. I'm not sure what the betting line is, but I would be tempted to go with the home team.

Of course, I don't actually gamble - that would be wrong/illegal. My comment was for entertainment purposes only.

Posted by: zmega | November 13, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

i honestly think this will be a good test for our team. last year we seemed to not step it up against teams that were so far below us in the standings. let's see if the mind set has changed. let's see if they can take this like they should.

that being said, buffalo is very hungry for a win at home and miller is coming back. should be a good game.


Posted by: natresgroup | November 13, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

They have had a great run, but still, all we can do is wait and see.

What are the thoughts on Semin? How much can we really afford to pay him? If he gets Nicky money, where does that put us?

Think about this, could Semins' value be any higher? I doubt it. What would LA give to get their hands on him?

That Poti extension looks worse as Semin continues to go off.

Posted by: underpants2 | November 13, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Flyers sign Carter to 11 year extension:

Posted by: TempusFugitRGV1 | November 13, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Holtby vs. Miller with Sabres hungry for a win and no lucky charm Boyd Gordon in the line-up.
What, me nervous? Now tomorrow, after a less than 24 hr back-to-back?

Posted by: bluejeener1 | November 13, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Hey Tom (if you are out there), how does the Carter contract look as a comparable for Semin? Maybe pro-rated for a somewhat shorter period, assuming the Caps wouldn't go for 11 years?

Posted by: zmega | November 13, 2010 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Go Caps.

Posted by: SirPelleas | November 13, 2010 6:31 PM | Report abuse

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