Capitals Blast Sabres, 6-0; Vitek Vanecek Pitches First Career NHL Shutout, Alex Ovechkin Ties Phil Esposito

Photo: @Capitals

The Washington Capitals rolled the Buffalo Sabres 6-0 Monday night at KeyBank Arena in Buffalo, New York. The victory improves the Capitals record to 18-6-4 (40 points) on the season.

The Capitals opened the scoring with a goal from Evgeny Kuznetsov in the first period, his 400th career NHL point, and added tallies from Nicklas Backstrom, Richard Panik, Daniel Sprong in the second period for a 4-0 lead at the second intermission.

Garnet Hathaway and Alex Ovechkin added goals in the final frame for the 6-0 final. Ovechkin’s goal was his 717th career NHL goal, tying him with Phil Esposito for 6th on the all-time list.

Vitek Vanecek stopped 23 of 23 shots faced for his first career NHL shutout.


Vitek Vanecek (11-5-0-3, 2.88 GAA, .904 sv%) got the start between the pipes for the visiting Capitals. Carter Hutton (9-1-8-0, 3.15 GAA, .893 sv%) started in goal for the Sabres. The starting forward lines and defensive pairs for the Capitals:

Scratches: Tom Wilson (suspension), Lars Eller (lower body injury), Jonas Siegenthaler.

The Capitals opened the scoring with a goal from Evgeny Kuznetsov (3) at 18:46 of the first period. The goal was Kuznetsov’s 400th career NHL point. Justin Schultz (9) and Conor Sheary (3) had the helpers.

That would be all the scoring in the first frame. The Capitals led in shot attempts 19-12, 13-2 in shots on goal, and 7-5 in scoring chances. Washington was 0 for 1 on the power play. Buffalo did not have a man advantage.

The Capitals extended their lead to 2-0 with a goal from Nicklas Backstrom (11) at 2:41 of the middle frame. T.J. Oshie (13) had the lone helper.

The Capitals upped their lead to 3-0 with a tally from Richard Panik (3) at 5:59 of the middle frame. Dmitry Orlov (1) had the lone assist.

The Capitals would stretch the lead to 4-0 with a goal from Daniel Sprong (6) at 15:07 of the middle frame.

That would be it for the scoring in the second period. Capitals led in shot attempts 15-12 for the middle frame, and led 34-24 after two periods. The Capitals led in shots on goal 11-7 in the second period and 24-9 after two periods. The Capitals led in scoring chances 6-4 in the second period and 13-9 after two periods. There were no additional penalties called in the middle frame.

The Capitals made it 5-0 with a tally from Garnet Hathaway (4) at 6:46 making it 5-0. Justin Schultz (10) and Carl Hagelin (5) had the helpers.

The Capitals would make it 6-0 with a goal from Alex Ovechkin (11) at 16:21 of the final frame. The goal was Ovechkin’s 717 career NHL goal.

The Capitals get right back to work on Tuesday night when they host the New York Islanders at Capital One Arena. Puck drop set for 7:00 PM.


  • Vitek Vanecek recorded his first career shutout against Buffalo. Vanecek becomes the tenth rookie goaltender in franchise history to record a shutout.
  • Vitek Vanecek stopped 23 of 23 shots faced for his first career shutout.
  • The Capitals have won five straight games, marking their longest win streak of the season.
  • The Capitals are 9-1-1 in their last 11 games. During that span, which began on Feb. 23, the Capitals are second in the NHL with a .864 point percentage, second in goals per game (3.73) and are ninth in goals against per game (2.45).


  • Nicklas Backstrom played in his 984th career game tonight against Buffalo, passing Calle Johansson (983 games) for the second-most games played in franchise history.
  • T.J. Oshie picked up the primary assist on Backstrom’s goal, his 13th of the season. Over an 82-game season, Oshie is on a 39 assist pace, which would match his career high set in 2013-14 as a member of the St. Louis Blues.
  • Nick Jensen recorded the primary assist on Sprong’s goal, marking his second assist of the game and his tenth of the season. Jensen has recorded multiple points in consecutive games (1g, 3a).

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 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 Civil 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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5 Responses to Capitals Blast Sabres, 6-0; Vitek Vanecek Pitches First Career NHL Shutout, Alex Ovechkin Ties Phil Esposito

  1. Anonymous says:

    Really impressed with Sprong and Sheary… Hope NJ keeps it up

  2. Jon Sorensen says:

  3. Anonymous says:

    The Caps have been doing well against the crappy teams, and that’s good. TCB. But the real tests are coming up for this team.

  4. Pingback: Tuesday Caps Clips: Buffalo Beatdown; Caps vs. Isles Game Day

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