Capitals at Sabres

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

When: 7 p.m.

Records: Washington (19-5-6), Buffalo (16-9-2)

Where: HSBC Arena

Best seat in the house: With Monday's 3-0 victory in Tampa, the Capitals moved into first place in the NHL standings for only the second time this late in a season. (They also sat atop the standings during the 1991-92 campaign.) "It's a marker that you're playing well," Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "But it's way more significant after 82 games."

The kid's on fire: Semyon Varlamov is 7-0-2 with a 1.53 goals against average and .945 save percentage in his last nine starts after Monday's shutout, his second in four games. His Sabres counterpart, Ryan Miller, leads the league in goals against (1.90) and save percentage (.935). Although Boudreau hasn't named a starter for Wednesday, 21-year-old Varlamov shut out the Sabres in the teams' previous meeting Nov. 25.

A new Bradley: Matt Bradley's status remained unclear Tuesday afternoon. The checking-line winger returned home Monday to be with his wife, Sasha, who gave birth to the couple's first child, Henry James Bradley, at 4:30 a.m. Tuesday. Meantime, Mike Green is expected to suit up against the Sabres, Boudreau said, after taking a hit to the head against the Lightning. The defenseman returned to the game, but was among a handful of players who did not practice Tuesday.

--Tarik El-Bashir

© 2009 The Washington Post Company