National Hockey League

Capitals 'lack compete level' but hang onto first place in loss to Sabres

The energy for a game against a last place team, at least prior to puck drop, was probably greater than anyone on the Capitals had ever experienced before.

Even without fans, the day was devoted to Nicklas Backstrom’s 1,000th career game and memories of his time as a Capital.

Buffalo was without its best goaltender, Linus Ullmark, and its best skater, Jack Eichel, but that didn’t stop the Sabres from being the better team for the first 40 minutes.

If the compete level was indeed lacking, it showed in the turnover margin where the Capitals made far too many mistakes, including some in their own zone which cost them dearly.

Additionally, Thursday marked the end of the road for the Capitals this season in terms of facing the true bottom of the division.

They’ll end the season with two games against the Bruins, three against the Islanders, two against the Penguins, three against the Flyers and two against the Rangers.

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