Sabres at Capitals – Inside The Numbers: Caps Sweep Sabres For The Week

Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images

Thanks to the “special” schedule planning by the NHL, the Buffalo Sabres made their second visit in six days to Capital One Arena on Friday night. The Caps would notch two tally’s and hang on for the 2-1 win. Holtby was beastly, stopping 36 of 37 shots faced. The Capitals are back in action Saturday night when they face the Senators in Ottawa. Puck drop is set for 7:00PM. 

Our complete game recap can be found here. The NHL box score can be found here. Stats provided by Natural Stat Trick are here.

After a scoreless first frame, Chandler Stephenson gave the Caps the lead on a short-handed break away goal for a 1-0 lead after 40 minutes. The Sabres would tie it midway through the final frame, but Tom Wilson would have the last say, scoring late in the period to give the Caps a 2-1:win. Again Holtby won this game.

This game was a “how will you respond” game for Andre Burakovsky and Chandler Stephenson, as both have been healthy scratches in the last few games. As a result, Reirden had to scratch Travis Boyd and Dmitrij Jaskin, both of whom have been doing fairly well in recent games for the Capitals.


Scratches: Dmitrij Jaskin, Tyler Lewington and Travis Boyd were all healthy scratches.

After a scoreless opening frame, Chandler Stephenson would start the scoring with a short-handed break away goal to give the Caps a scant 1-0 lead after two periods of play. The Sabres would tie things up with a tally midway through the final frame. Tom Wilson would give the Capitals a 2-1 lead late in the final frame, and that would be the final.

The Capitals entered the game ranked 23rd in the league in shot attempts per game (SF) with a 29.8 shots per game average, and were giving up (SA) the 13th-most shots per game with a 31.8 per game average. The Sabres entered the contest ranked 15th in shot attempts per game with a 31.9% average, and were giving up the 7th-most shots per game with a 33.0 average.

Each team generated 17 shot attempts in the (scoreless ) opening frame, with the Sabres leading 9-8 in shots on goal (SOG). The Caps held the edge in shot attempts for the first half of the first period, but Buffalo came back in the second half of the period. The Sabres turned it on in the middle frame, out-attempting the Caps 19-9 and led 10-8 in SOG, but game up a SHG in the middle frame. The Sabres out-attempted the Caps 19-12 in the final frame, much due to the fact that they were trailing. Buffalo led in SOG 17-8 in the third period.



Braden Holtby was stellar, stopping 36 of 37 shots he faced for a .973 save percentage. Carter Hutton stopped 22 of 24 for a .917 save percentage.

The Capitals entered Friday night’s contest with the league’s 6th best power play at 25% and the league’s 27th ranked penalty kill at 75.2%. Buffalo came into the contest with the leagues 19th ranked power play at 19.1% and the leagues 8th-best penalty kill at 82.5%.

Both teams would go 0 for 4 on the power play. Victory for the Capitals struggling penalty kill.

The Capitals won the battle at the dot 55-45% (28 of 51). Nicklas Backstrom win 14 of 20, Lars Eller won 6 of 12, Nic Dowd was 5 of 9 and Evgeny Kuznetsov was 3 of 9.

Andre Burakovsky was low man with ice time. Tom Wilson led the team in shots with 4. Jonas Siegenthaler led the team in blocks with 4.

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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