Capitals Down Sabres 4-1, Complete Season Sweep

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Photo: Washington Capitals

The Capitals beat the Sabres 4-1 Friday night at KeyBank Center in Buffalo. The win raised the Capitals record to 16-7-3. The Capitals next host the Vancouver Canucks Sunday afternoon at Verizon Center. Puck drop is 5:00PM.

capitals-at-buffalo-sabres-starting-lines-12-9-16Matt Niskanen missed his first game since joining the Washington Capitals in 2014. Niskanen was injured in Wednesday night’s game against the Bruins.

Philipp Grubauer got the start in goal for the Capitals. Grubauer was the winning tender in the first matchup against the Sabres on November 25th. Robin Lehrer got the start in goal for the Sabres.

Aaron Ness, called up from Hershey on Thursday, and Brett Connolly were the healthy scratches for tonight’s game.

QUICK TAKES

  • Nicklas Backstrom would leave the game in the first period to be evaluated, but returned for the second period.
  • Jakub Vrana scored his first career NHL goal in the second period. The goal would be the official game winner.
  • The Capitals continue to give up poor penalties. The Caps were called for three penalties in the first 11 minutes of the third period alone.
  • Matt Niskanen missed his first game since signing with the Capitals in the summer of 2014.
  • The Capitals power play got off the “schneid”, scoring two goals on the man advantage.

FIRST PERIOD
The Capitals got off to a nice start, registering three of the first four shots on goal for the game. However, Buffalo would get the game’s first power play, just 3:35 into the game, when Taylor Chorney was called for interference. The Caps would handle the Sabres man advantage without any damage. The Capitals would get their first power play at 17:48 of the opening frame, but the Caps would come up empty. The first period would end without a score. The Caps would lead in shots on goal 11-8. Nicklas Backstrom left the game towards the end of the first period, and was being “evaluated”, according to Capitals public relations. Backstrom got four shifts in the first period, with his last shift lasting just 10 seconds, at the 11:59 mark of the period. The Capitals would tweet an update during the first intermission:

SECOND PERIOD
The Sabres came out with a bit more intensity to start the middle frame, as offensive zone time was a bit more even than the first period of play. The Sabres gained the momentum just before TJ Oshie broke the scoreless tie at the 6:43 mark of the second period. The goal was setup by a nice feed from Jay Beagle.

The Capitals would return to the power play at the 10:52 mark of the middle frame. The Capitals would finally take advantage of the man advantage, as Jakub Vrana would notch his first career NHL goal, a power play goal, at the 12:39 mark of the second period. The goal was set up by a nice zone entry and feed from Evgeny Kuznetsov

The second period would end with the Capitals leading 2-0. The Capitals led in shots on goal 19-18 after two periods of play.

THIRD PERIOD
The Capitals would be called for three penalties in the first 11 minutes of the final frame. The Capitals penalty kill would come up big, shutting down the first two Sabres man advantages, but would break on the third, closing the gap to 2-1 at 12:03 of the final frame. Kyle Okposo would notch the tally.

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The Capitals would return to the power play at 13:28 of the third period, and the Capitals would once again cash in. This time John Carlson would score his first goal of the season at 14:20.

Marcus Johansson would add an empty net goal at 18:48 to secure the 4-1 win for the Capitals.

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By Jon Sorensen

SCENES FROM BUFFALO

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His passion for the Caps has grown over the decades, which has included time as a season ticket holder, social media and community organizer, and most recently led to the founding of NoVa Caps in 2014. Jon earned a Bachelor's of Science in Engineering at Old Dominion University, and is a Systems Engineer during intermissions, which has been instrumental in supporting his Capitals habit.
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