The Washington Capitals wrapped-up their season-long six-game road trip with a 5-2 loss to the Sabres at KeyBank Center in Buffalo. The Capitals ended the road trip going 3-3 for six points. They are now 34-21-7 (75 points), two points behind the first place Islanders. The Capitals have a quick turnaround, as they host the Rangers at Capital One Arena tomorrow (Sunday) at 12:30 PM.
A sluggish, sleepy start for the defending champions. The Sabres would initiate the scoring, notching the game’s first goal just 3:40 into the contest. The Sabres made it 2-0 with a tally at 12:51 for a 2-0 lead after one period. The Capitals would get on the board with a breakaway goal from Alex Ovechkin at 2:28 of the middle frame, but the Sabres would answer with a late power play goal for a 3-1 lead at the second intermission. The Capitals would quickly draw to within one with a deflected goal from Andre Burakovsky, the Sabres would restore the two-goal lead 1:27 later, making it 4-2. The Sabres would add one more for the 5-2 final. (Full game recap here).
Carl Hagelin made his Capitals debut at LW on the fourth line. Newly acquired defensemen Nick Jensen arrived in Buffalo late last night. He participated in meetings and warmups but did not play. He is slated to make his Capitals debut tomorrow against the Rangers.
Braden Holtby got the start between the pipes for the Capitals. Carter Hutton got the start for Buffalo.
SHOT ATTEMPTS (POSSESSION)
The Capitals led in shot attempts 16-15, but trailed 13-10 in shots on goal (SOG) and 2-0 on the scoreboard after one period of play. The Capitals showed a little more jump in their game at the start of the second period, but trailed 3-1 at the second break. The Sabres led in shot attempts 16-13, but the Caps led in SOG 15-13 for the middle frame. The Sabres outshot the Capitals 17-13 in the final frame, and 48-42 for the game. The Sabres led in SOG 12-8 for the third period, and 38-33 for the game.
SHOT ATTEMPTS (DIFFERENTIAL)
SHOT ATTEMPTS (LOCATION)
Braden Holtby stopped 33 of 37 for a game save percentage of .892. Carter Hutton had an excellent game, stopping 31 of 33 for a .939 save percentage, and was one of the differences in the game.
The Capitals went 0 for 2 and the Sabres went 1 for 4 on the power play for the game.
Maybe the one statistical ray of sunshine was the faceoffs. The Capitals won 34 of 59 for a winning percentage of 58%. Buffalo entered the game ranked 21st in the league with a 49.1% winning percentage so far this season. Brett Connolly was 1 for 1, Jakub Vrana was 0 for 1, Chandler Stephenson was 1 for 1, Nicklas Backstrom was 3 for 7, Lars Eller was 8 for 13, Nic Dowd was 7 for 9, Tom Wilson was 1 for 1, T.J. Oshie was 4 for 6 and Evgeny Kuznetsov was 9 for 19.
- Alex Ovechkin scored to cut the Sabres lead to 2-1. That’s his NHL-leading 44th goal of the season. He’s now scored in five straight games (6g).
- Andre Burakovsky cut the lead to 3-2. That’s his eighth goal of the season and his second point in his last three games (1g, 1a).
It will be interesting to see who sits in the blueline when Jensen plays tomorrow against the Rangers. Christian Djoos will likely get the scratch for the simple fact that Brooks Orpik would provide a better educator to the system on the ice.