Vitek Vanecek Wins In NHL Debut, 2-1; Czech Mate Jakub Vrana Scores Second Goal In First Two Games

The Washington Capitals beat the Buffalo Sabres 2-1 Friday night at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo. The win improves the Capitals record to 2-0-0 on the season. The team will now depart for Pittsburgh for their first game of a two-game set on Sunday. Puck drop is set for noon.


Vitek Vanecek got the start in goal for the Capitals. It was Vanecek’s first career start in the NHL. Linus Ullmark got the start in goal for the Sabres. The starting lines and defensive pairs for the Capitals:

The Capitals and Sabres skated to a scoreless draw in the first frame. The Capitals were called for three penalties in the first frame (Dillon, Sheary and Kuznetsov), but the penalty kill was perfect in defense.

The Sabres led in 5-on-5 shot attempts 12-10 and led in shots on goal (SOG) 11-6 for the first period.

The Capitals opened the scoring with a goal from Jakub Vrana (2) at 1:34 of the middle frame. It was Vrana’s second goal in the first two games. The play was setup by a nice feed from Tom Wilson (1), who had the only assist on the play.

The period would end with the Capitals leading 1-0. The Capitals were 0 for 0 and the Sabres 0 for 4 on the power play after two frames.

The Sabres led in shot attempts 17-13 for the second period and 29-23 after the first 40 minutes. Sabres led in shots on goal 27-13 after two periods.

The Sabres would quickly tie the score with a goal from Rasmus Ristolainen at 0:31 of the final frame. His shot would deflect off of Tom Wilson’s right pad for the score.

The Capitals would regain the lead with a snipe from Tom Wilson (1) at 7:47 of the third period. Nicklas Backstrom (2) had the assist.

And that would be the final. The Capitals were 5 for 5 on the penalty kill. They did not have a man advantage in the game.

Vitek Vanecek stopped 30 of 31 shots he faced for a .968 game save percentage. The only blemish was the crazy deflection off of Tom Wilson’s leg.

By Jon Sorensen


  • Jakub Vrana scored to give the Caps a 1-0 lead, his second straight game with a goal. He now has 67 career goals and 67 career assists in his 247th career game.
  • Tom Wilson picked up an assist on Vrana’s goal. Wilson set career highs in assists (23) and points (44) last season, despite only playing 68 games.
  • Brenden Dillon will play in his 600th career game tonight and will become one of just three active undrafted defensemen with at least 600 games played.
  • Nicklas Backstrom recorded an assist on Wilson’s goal, his second assist of the season. He’s now 14 assists shy of 700 career assists.

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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5 Responses to Vitek Vanecek Wins In NHL Debut, 2-1; Czech Mate Jakub Vrana Scores Second Goal In First Two Games

  1. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations Vitek!

  2. Jon Sorensen says:
  3. Jon Sorensen says:
  4. Pingback: Saturday Caps Clips: Czechs and Balances

  5. Pingback: Peter Laviolette diskuterar Zdeno Chara, Vitek Vanecek och teamdisciplin före måndagens övning – Hockeyspelare

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