The Washington Capitals rallied from a 2-1 deficit to beat the Buffalo Sabres 5-2 on Wednesday night at Verizon Center. The Capitals improved to 28-6-2. The Sabres record falls to 15-8-4, as the Caps took both games of the home-and-home set this week. The Capitals defeated the Sabres 2-0 at First Niagara Center in Buffalo on Monday night.
The starting lines for the Capitals:
John Carlson missed his second game due to an injury he sustained against Montreal on December 26th. Michael Latta missed the game as a result of an injury to an arm he sustained in a fight with Nicolas Deslauriers on Monday night. Brooks Orpik missed his 22nd consecutive game due to an injury he sustained on November 10th in Detroit. Stanislav Galiev was a healthy scratch. The starting goalie matchup for tonight’s game, provided by @CapsGoalies:
The Capitals were outplayed for portions of the first period and a majority of the second period. The Caps trailed 2-1 after two periods, even though the Caps led in shots on goal 28-19. The Capitals were able to mount a now patented comeback in the third period for the win. However, injuries continue to mount for the Capitals as both Jay Beagle and Nicklas Backstrom left the game due to injuries. Evgeny Kuznetsov picked up the slack with two nice passes for assists. Marcus Johansson had a goal and an assist. Andre Burakovsky finally scored a goal. Capitals out-shot the Sabres 43-27 for the game. The NHL game summary can be found here: Individual player stats can be found here: Face-off summary can be found here:
The rematch opened as the Sabres levied a heavy blow on Alex Ovechkin in the first few seconds of the opening frame. Alex Ovechkin was called for a roughing penalty at 0:33 of the first period when he retaliated for the opening blow. Buffalo had four shots during the ensuing power play, but where unable to find the net. The Sabres would get on the score board with a pretty nice give-and-go from Jack Eichel to Brian Gionta for the punch-in at 5:48.
The ensuing 5-on-5 play saw the Capitals with a slight advantage in offensive zone time and several scoring chances through the midway point of the first period. The Sabres Tyler Ennis was called for tripping at 12:10 of the first, giving the Caps their first power play, but the Caps could only muster three shots on goal and no tally. Tom Wilson received four minutes for roughing and Buffalo’s Zach Bogosian received two minutes for roughing, giving the Sabres their second power play at the 17:30 mark. The period ended with the Sabres leading 1-0. The Capitals held a 14-11 lead in shots on goal after one period.
The first five minutes of the middle frame saw the advantage of offensive zone time go to the Sabres, who had several very strong scoring chances. The Capitals went on their second power play of the game when Buffalo’s Johan Larsson was called for hooking at 5:55. The Caps power play was somewhat disjointed, and ultimately couldn’t find the back of the net. Buffalo outplayed the Caps for the first ten minutes of the period, but just past the midway point of the period, the Caps were able to string together a couple of good shifts led by the top line. Justin Williams would tie the game up when the Sabres goalie Chad Johnson made an ill-advised pass from behind the net, which was stolen by Williams and flipped in the open net at 14:08.
The Sabres would regain the lead with 1:07 left in the period on a high rebound that was lost by Braden Holtby and punched in by the Sabres’ Zemgus Girgensons.
The period would end with the Sabres leading 2-1, even though the Capitals were outshooting the Sabres 28-19 after two periods. In addition Jay Beagle left the game during the second period and would not return. It appeared he was injured on this play:
Nicklas Backstrom would also be injured during the second period and not return to the game.
Marcus Johansson would grab the lead for the Caps on a nice pass from Evgeny Kuznetsov, giving the Caps ta 3-2 lead at the 8:32 mark.
Andre Burakovsky would give the Caps a 4-2 lead at 9:56 of the final period on a nice feed from Marcus Johansson.
Alex Ovechkin would add an empty-net goal, as the Caps would hold on for their ninth straight win, 5-2.