The Caps started off hot but let two wins slip away in Philadelphia on Thursday and at home against Winnipeg on Friday but came away with a point in each contest. They salvaged their week with a 3-0 win against the Minnesota Wild on Sunday. That win gave Washington they two points they needed to tie the Buffalo Sabres with 84 points on the season and propelled them to 8th in the Eastern Conference.
Leading the charge has been Alex Ovechkin, who is playing at a playoff caliber, having tallied seven goals and eight points in the past five games. Ovechkin scored two goals in last Monday’s win over the Detroit Red Wings and in their overtime loss to the Jets. He also pitched in a goal and an assist in the win over the Wild and scored Washington’s lone goal just 26 seconds in against the Flyers. He was named the NHL’s Third Star of the Week.
The Sabres come into Verizon Center as one of the hottest teams in the NHL, having gone 13-2-3 in their last 18 games, including winning their past four games in regulation. Buffalo will also boast Ryan Miller between the pipes tonight, who is averaging 27 saves per game as well as a .953 save percentage in his last four games.
1st Period Overview:
- Starters for the Caps: Alzner, Wideman, Brouwer, Hendricks, Beagle and Holtby. Starters for the Sabres: Roy, Leino, Regehr, Pominville, Sekera, and Miller.
- Caps scratches: Erskine, Halpern, Ward and Vokoun. Sabres scratches: Weber, Ellis and Gerbe.
- Caps have done a good job of keeping Miller on edge. Meanwhile, Schultz has looked like a liability during his time on the ice.
- Sabres score 8:45 into the first period. Caps are down 1-0 on Cody McCormick’s first goal of the season.
- “Let’s Go Buffalo!” chants are echoing throughout Verizon Center.
- Buffalo’s Patrick Kaleta gets sent to the penalty box for interference at the 11:26 mark.
- Holtby just made two nice pad saves in the span of a second. Nice reaction time.
- Caps are starting to pick up steam with four minutes left. Whether that translates to goals is a different story.
- Buffalo scores off the rebound. Now up 2-0 over the #Caps. Drew Stafford gets the goal.
- “Let’s go Buffalo!” chants start up again as the period comes to a close.
- Tyler Ennis is given an assist on the second goal for the Sabres.
Total Faceoffs Won: BUF – 6 WAS – 14
Total Hits: BUF – 2 WAS – 13
Total Shots on Goal: BUF – 15 WAS – 10
Total Goals: BUF – 2 WAS – 0
2nd Period Overview:
- Sabres go up 3-0 just 2:31 into the second period. Goal scored by Thomas Vanek. Michal Neuvirth immediately replaces Holtby.
- Semin puts up the Caps’ first goal of the night with 14:53 to go in the period. It’s his 19th goal of the year.
- Andrej Sekera hobbles off the ice after taking a shot off of his legs a few minutes ago.
- Dennis Wideman is sent to the sin bin for hooking.
- Kaleta seems to have taken a shot off of his hand.
- Robyn Regehr is sent to the penalty box. Power play coming up for the Caps.
- Buffalo scores on the Caps PP. A major 2-on-1 disadvantage on Wideman leading up to the goal. 4-1 Sabres.
- Caps enter the second intermission to boos from their own fans and cheers from very pleased Sabres fans.
- If the Caps miss the playoffs, this game and that goal on their own power play may be the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Total Faceoffs Won: BUF – 14 WAS – 23
Total Hits: BUF – 9 WAS – 22
Total Shots on Goal: BUF – 25 WAS – 26
Total Goals: BUF – 4 WAS – 1
3rd Period Overview:
- To piggy back off of Alzner’s “(expletive) the bed” quote from Friday, the #Caps are playing like they’ll have to change their sheets again.
- Buffalo’s Tyler Myers is sent to the penalty box for holding. Caps on the PP.
- And just like that, it’s 5-1 Sabres with 10:31 to go. It’s a bloodbath, folks.
- “Fire Hunter!” chants are now spreading in the upper deck. Yikes.
- Caps fall to the Sabres 5-1.
Total Faceoffs Won: BUF – 23 WAS – 37
Total Hits: BUF – 13 WAS – 26
Total Shots on Goal: BUF – 31 WAS – 45
Total Goals: BUF – 5 WAS – 1
Tags: Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, Andrej Sekera, Braden Holtby, Buffalo Sabres, Cody McCormick, Dennis Wideman, Derek Roy, Drew Stafford, Jason Pominville, Jay Beagle, Jeff Halpern, jeff schultz, Joel Ward, John Erskine, Jordan Leopold, Karl Alzner, Matt Ellis, Matt Hendricks, Michal Neuvirth, Mike Weber, Minnesota Wild, Nathan Gerbe, Patrick Kaleta, Philadelphia Flyers, Robyn Regehr, Ryan Miller, Thomas Vanek, Tomas Vokoun, Troy Brouwer, Tyler Ennis, Tyler Myers, Ville Leino, Washington Capitals, Winnipeg Jets