the washington capitals look to rebound from an embarrassing result last time out when they complete a four-game road trip on monday afternoon against the eastern conference-worst buffalo sabres. the capitals, who have fallen one point behind pittsburgh for first place in the metropolitan division, were outshot 44-20 en route to a 7-1 loss at chicago on saturday - the second time they have surrendered seven goals in a game this month.

"obviously, it doesn't sit well. this group is much better than it showed (saturday)," washington coach barry trotz told reporters of his team, which has allowed 4.1 goals per game in february. "this game is probably going to go in the garbage can, and i expect a really good response." the capitals are 3-3-2 this month after earning points in 10 of their previous 12 contests (8-2-2) as they take on the sabres, who have dropped their last two games after beating east-leading tampa bay on tuesday. buffalo was outshot 19-8 in the first period and gave up three goals in the second session to fall behind by four before settling for a 4-2 setback against los angeles on saturday. "it's unacceptable," sabres defenseman marco scandella told reporters after the loss. "we should be ready every night, especially in our building. we definitely weren't engaged enough. they were playing playoff-type hockey, and we're going to have to step up next game and figure out what we need to do in this dressing room."

tv: 3 p.m. et, sportsnet one, nbcs washington, msg (buffalo)

about the capitals (33-18-7): captain alex ovechkin tops the team with 65 points after posting two goals and five assists in his last four games, but he was held without a shot saturday for the second time in the last five contests. nicklas backstrom has scored three goals in a four-game span while t.j. oshie, who recorded a career-high 33 tallies last season and has netted 12 in 2017-18, has not scored in his last eight contests. physical forward tom wilson produced the only goal in saturday's loss, giving him three in his last two contests to increase his career-high total to 10.

about the sabres (17-31-11): buffalo, which visits washington on saturday, coughed up two leads en route to losing 3-2 in overtime at ottawa on thursday before its dull effort against los angeles and is 3-5-2 since posting a season-best three-game winning streak. ryan o'reilly has been kept off the scoresheet in two straight games after posting two goals and four assists in his previous two while evander kane has failed to add to his 38-point total over the last three contests. defenseman rasmus ristolainen scored one of the goals in saturday's loss and has notched five of his 27 points in the last six games.


1. washington g philipp grubauer (5-7-3), who stopped 10-of-11 shots in relief on saturday, could get the start against the sabres.

2. kane scored two of his 18 goals in the 3-1 victory over washington on nov. 7 after the capitals had won seven of the previous eight meetings in the all-time series.

3. buffalo g robin lehner is 1-2-2 with an .877 save percentage in his last five starts.

prediction: capitals 5, sabres 2