WASHINGTON -- The Washington Capitals explosive offense seems to be rounding into form, and on Friday theyll try to finish their longest homestand of the season on a positive note against a Buffalo Sabres squad inching toward the .500 mark.Alexander Ovechkin had his 16th career hat trick in a 4-3 win over the St, Louis Blues on Wednesday, but all parties agreed that it was Evgeny Kuznetsov that helped make a big difference for the Capitals offense.I hope hes back on his game and he has the confidence, Ovechkin said of his fellow countryman. It helps us when he plays well.Kuznetsov had gotten off to a slow start this season, but his goal and assist against the Blues gave him his second multi-point game of the year, and the 24-year-olds skill in the offensive zone will help boost Washingtons offensive attack. Kuznetsov now has three goals this season after leading Washington with 20 tallies last year.I thought (Kuznetsov) was dynamic -- he was really skating, Capitals coach Barry Trotz said after Washingtons win. That was the (Kuznetsov) that we all see that he can be. Hes been getting better and better. You can see he was going to have a breakout sooner or later as long as he stayed with the program, and he has.The Sabres are coming off a hard-fought, 2-1 shootout loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday, but got some good news in the return of center Ryan OReilly, who rejoined the teams top line. He played 22:48 in his return, but may have also showed some rust after missing five games due to an oblique injury.I think at time he was a little extended in his energy level, Sabres coach Dan Bylsma told NHL.com after Wednesdays loss. Hes a great player, but he extended himself in a couple shifts and got stuck out there in the second, one of those long shifts and then the overtime he got stuck out again.The Sabres (7-8-5) have stressed getting back to even on the season, and will have another crack at it against the Capitals, who have been one of the top home teams this season at 7-3-0.It is a big goal of ours to get back to that .500 mark, but you come out and have a good effort against Washington and you consider it a really good week, Sabres captain Brian Gionta told reporters after Wednesdays game.Buffalos goalies, Robin Lehner and Anders Nilsson, have combined for a .930 save percentage, good enough for second in the league. 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The business end of the NRL season is here and ESPN NRL expert Brett Kimmorley believes some teams will be happy with their form, some wont and what also-rans can expect improvement in 2017 in his latest edition of Set of Six.Broncos beat Roosters but were far from brilliantThe Broncos were outstanding in round 25 against Melbourne but they forgot about playing round 26 because I thought they were pretty poor against the Roosters.I wouldve thought for Corey Parkers last regular season game at Suncorp Stadium there would have been plenty of emotion and reason to celebrate, but I thought the Broncos were extremely poor.We know that the finals are another level again and I thought Brisbane in round 25 were preparing for the playoffs, but round 26 probably wasnt the ideal preparation lead in to what semi-final football will look like.Roosters must fix defence before 2017The Roosters will need to work a great deal on their defence ahead of the 2017 season. We know there has been a roster change there - they have lost a fullback, they have lost a five-eighth and they have lost a centre - but when they were minor premiers for three consecutive years they were the best defensive team in the competition.That certainly has not been the case this year and they have leaked a lot of points. It just seems like every time the opposition gets down their end they are generally waving the white flag -- which is certainly not the Roosters of old.They have seen the emergence of Latrell Mitchell and Connor Watson, they get Luke Keary and Michael Gordon joining the club next year so they have got some talented players for 2017, but if they dont fix their deficiencies then it doesnt matter who plays for them.I think the Roosters are seeing the impact of Sonny Bill-Williams and Anthony Minichiello starting to wear away. There will be pressure on everyone at the Roosters next year - I think Trent Robinson is a pretty good coach but the chairman or CEO wont accept another year of re-building.Rabbitohs have found a spine for 2017Its taken them two years and a lot of different personnel but I think South Sydney have finally found a spine for next year. Cody Walker has been very good for them, Greg Inglis has to play fullback as thats where he has the most impact for the team.I think the spine will include Robbie Farah. I dont think dummy halves can play 80 minutes anymore. I think the likes of Cameron Smith will retire in the next few years and well see two hookers in every football side.Its too hard a game where you are expected to play 80 minutes of football, make around 55 tackles and the other players are generally bigger and stronger.The players are getting bigger and faster and the game is becoming more intense, yet we ask these guys to play 80 minutes, create line breaks, create set plays and do all of that under a fair bit of pressure.Very important to have two very good dummy halves and Souths will probably have Damien Cook and Robbie Farah. I think Cook has been outstanding for them and also what he brings is great pace. Hell make a great impact off the bench after that early arm wrestle.Cowboys best attacking unit in the NRLThe Cowboys are the best attacking team in the competition and I am convinced they can win the competitioon again.ddddddddddddI have jumped off Melbourne because North Queensland can play in so many different ways and have so many different attacking options.They have a great forward pack, Jason Taumololo is that x-factor that just creates havoc, Jake Granville is a genuine dummy half threat, they have Lachlan Coote and Michael Morgan who have not really fired in the past few weeks, but Im expecting a big semifinal performance from them.Having Johnathan Thurston in your side also gives them the best halfback in the NRL so I think the Cowboys are a realistic chance of going back-to-back. Ive heard coach Paul Green say he thinks they have got more options than 2015 when they were the eventual premiers.But for this to happen I think the Cowboys must have Matt Scott back from injury. The closeness of the NRL competition, the depth of all of the teams so I think the team that wins the competition needs to have most of their best players on the park.Bulldogs must find some halves before the finalsThe Bulldogs will welcome back their biggest halfback in Sam Kasiano this week and he will give them a lift but they had a thousand opportunities to attack the line against Souths but it didnt look like they were going to score the try.I know Moses Mbye is a great runner of the ball and a great left foot kicked but I think they need a bit more first ball and I think Brett Morris needs to go back to fullback. Brett Morris is a guy that pops up in the right places at the right times and knows how to score a try. While William Hopoate is a good defensive fullback, I dont think he has that presence and awareness that Morris does.I know Des Hasler is as successful as Wayne Bennett and all of these other coaches in the finals but Id like to think they have something different in mind this week against Penrith.If they get momentum off the back of their monster forward pack, please let the halves play football. Its a do-or-die attitude but theyve lost a few games now so they may as well throw all of their eggs in the one basket and just go out with all guns blazing.Storm are clinical in big gamesThe Sharks tried extremely hard on Saturday night but the Storm showed why Craig Bellamy is such a great coach. Melbourne were extremely poor last week against Brisbane but they turned it around very quickly - they were so good, so clinical, super-fit and they go through their structures extremely well.At halftime the Storm were 16 from 16 completed sets and I think the game was pretty much over. The scoreline did not reflect it but just how clinical they were, their knowledge to handle a big game and it was a football lesson for Cronulla.Playing high-intensity Origin, high-intensity semi-finals, high-intensity grand final football is another step up in class and youve got to be able to handle that pressure and expectation and the Storm did it beautifully.The Storm beat you in the wrestle every day of the week, they do it extremely well, they dont put their hands on the ball, they do things better than most sides so how you combat that is you play a little bit of football -- similar to what Brisbane did in round 25. 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