First thing's first - in case you missed it, Simeon Varlamov is back up, with Brent Johnson heading to the infirmary (on a related note, who the hell is going to tend goal for Hershey with Varly here and Daren Machesney presumably in Switzerland for the Spengler Cup?).
That housekeeping note out of the way, let's welcome the Buffalo Sabres (and no doubt plenty of their fans) to town for their first visit of the season to the VC. You remember the Sabres, don't you? They're the team that blanked the Caps 5-0 back in the beginning of November, resulting in the Great Captain Call-out of 2008. They're the team that has won their last three visits to D.C. and are 10-2-0 in their last dozen games overall against the Caps. And they're one of two teams in the League with a player who has more goals than Alex Ovechkin does so far this year (enjoy it while it lasts, Thomas).
Despite also being a team that has dropped three of its last four games, the Sabres skate well and will present a significant challenge to a beaten-up Caps defense and the guy in net behind them, be it Varlamov or, more likely, Jose Theodore (7-12-1/2.93/.894 career against Buffalo).
Then again, we've said it before and we'll say it again - the Caps have Alex Ovechkin and the Sabres don't. Edge: Washington.
Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:
Lots of former Caps are KHL All-Stars.... One year ago today, the Caps removed the "interim" from Bruce Boudreau's job title. Good move.... Speaking of history, 12 years ago today, Sergei Fedorov's overtime goal beat the Caps 5-4. It was Feds' fifth goal of the game.