How to watch the Capitals season opener vs. Sabres originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
Thursday night on NBC Sports Washington marks the return of Capitals hockey. After months of waiting and wondering how the NHL season would come to be amid the coronavirus pandemic, it is finally here.
For the Capitals, it will be a crucial season as Washington looks to once again compete for the Stanley Cup while their contention window is still open. The 2021 season will consist mostly of the same cast of characters in years past with Alex Ovechkin leading the charge.
However, there are some new faces including longtime Bruins star Zdeno Chara. The goalie situation will also be interesting to monitor as Braden Holtby is no longer with the team. Instead, the Capitals will rely on Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek in net to begin the year.
The road to a title begins Thursday, and it will be a road matchup with the Buffalo Sabres to kick things off. Buffalo is coming off a season in which it went 30-31-8.
You won't want to miss the return of Capitals hockey, here's everything you need to know about the contest.
CAPITALS VS. SABRES HOW TO WATCH
What: Washington Capitals vs. Buffalo Sabres
Where: KeyBank Center, Buffalo, NY
When: Thursday, January 14, 2021, at 7 p.m. ET
TV Channel: Capitals vs. Sabres will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (NBC Sports channel finder)
Live Stream: You can live stream Capitals vs. Sabres on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the MyTeams app.
CAPITALS VS. SABRES TV SCHEDULE
6:00 PM: Capitals Pregame Live (LIVE7:00 PM: Capitals vs. Sabres (LIVE)9:30 PM: Capitals Postgame Live (LIVE)
CAPITALS VS. SABRES WHAT TO WATCH
- The 2020 postseason was not friendly to Jakub Vrana, as he recorded zero points in eight contests. That came after a regular season in 2019-20 that was rather promising. Now, in 2021, Vrana is looking to put that bad stretch behind him. For Washington to succeed this season, they'll need Vrana to perform at a high and consistent level throughout the campaign.
- Something Washington was typically got at for the beginning of last season was bouncing back. After a loss, the team would rebound and avoid a losing streak. Yet toward the end, that changed. Tom WIlson believes that edge needs to return in 2021 for success to follow. The best way to avoid a let down on a bounce back? Come out with that mentality for the season opener and start the year with a win.
- The goalie tandem is something worth watching all season long. it's a new era with Braden Holtby gone, and it belongs to Ilya Samsonov. He's had experience in the NHL, but now as the No. 1, it's a whole new world of expectations and challenges. Vitek Vanecek will be the No. 2 to open up the season.
CAPITALS VS. SABRES PLAYERS TO WATCH
Capitals: Alex Ovechkin, LW (68 games, 48 goals, 19 assists, 67 points in 2019-20). Did you think it could be anyone else? As long as Ovi is on the ice for the Capitals he is must-watch and a big factor in the team's success. The league leader in goals a year ago, what does he have in store for 2020?
Sabres: Jack Eichel, C (68 games, 36 goals, 42 assists, 78 points in 2019-20). One of the young stars of the game, the 24-year-old has emerged as a centerpiece for Buffalo. With the ability to score and pass, Eichel is someone Washington will need to limit on Thursday.