Capitals Take Down Buffalo, 3-1

sabres-at-capsPatrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images

The Washington Capitals beat the Buffalo Sabres 3-1 on Friday night at Verizon Center. The win was the Capitals second straight, improving the Capitals record to (13-5-2). The Capitals next head to Toronto to face the Maple Leafs on Saturday night. Puck drop is 7:00 PM. 

In the first game of a back-to-back set for the Caps, Philipp Grubauer got the start in goal for the Capitals. Look for Braden Holtby to get the start Saturday night in Toronto. Anders Nilsson got the start between the pipes for Buffalo.

T.J. Oshie missed his third straight game since sustaining an upper body injury in the Red Wings game on November 18th.

Taylor Chorney got his first start since November 15th. Nate Schmidt was the healthy scratch.


  • The Capitals are now 13-5-2 through 20 games this season. For comparison, the Capitals were 14-5-1 through 20 games last season. A difference of a single overtime loss (1 point).
  • The third period continues to be a soft spot for the Capitals as far as giving up goals.
  • The Capitals penalty kill was put to the test during the Sabres first power play, yielding seven shots, two on goal, but did not allow a goal.

A rather pedestrian first few minutes to start the contest, with even end-to-end action. About four minutes into the game the Capitals stepped up the pressure, and results would soon follow. Daniel Winnik notched the game’s first goal at the 5:08 mark of the opening frame. Lars Eller and Brett Connolly each earned their first assists as Capitals on the Winnik goal.

Justin Williams was whistled for goaltender interference at 7:43, giving the Sabres the game’s first power play, but the Capitals penalty kill would ultimately snuff it out. The Sabres did have significant zone time, with shots on goal and five shots that missed their target. Zach Sanford made a sweet move to set up a quality chance for his first goal, but was denied on a nice stop by the Sabres goalie.


The Capitals would get their first power play at the 17:56 mark, but could not convert on the man advantage . The first period would end with the Capitals leading 1-0. The Capitals led in shots on goal 13-6 for the opening frame.

The Capitals would go to the power play at the 5:40 mark, their second man-advantage of the game. The Caps would get several nice chances but would be unable to convert. Marcus Johansson would stretch the Capitals lead to 2-0 at the 13:25 mark on a nifty dissection of the Sabres defense. This was Johansson’s eighth goal of the season, but first on home ice.

The Capitals would return to the power play with 2:37 left in the middle frame, but could not cash-in on the man-advantage. The period would end with the Capitals leading 2-0. Shots on goal were even for the period at 12-12, with the Capitals leading 25-18 through two periods of play. The Capitals led in scoring chances 14 to 7, with Justin Williams leading the game with 4 chances.

The Sabres would cut the lead in half on a goal by Sam Reinhart at 9:58 of the final frame.


Brett Connolly would knock home a rebound for a power play goal with 3:55 left in the game to give the Capitals a 3-1 lead.


By Jon Sorensen


About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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