Capitals Beat Buffalo, 5-3; Alex Ovechkin Ties Brett Hull For Fourth All-Time With 741st Career Goal

Photo: @Capitals

The Washington Capitals beat the Buffalo Sabres by a score of 5-3 at Capital One Arena on Monday night to snap their three-game losing-streak (0-2-1). The victory bumped the Capitals up to third in the Metropolitan Division, one point behind the New York Rangers with a game in hand for second and two points ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers and Columbus Blue Jackets, who each have two games in hand on the Capitals. Goaltender Vitek Vanecek made 25 saves in the victory.

Capitals’ Lines vs. Sabres

Graphic: @Capitals

Left-wing Axel Jonsson-Fjallby, who was claimed off of waivers by the Sabres on October 4 before the Capitals re-claimed him days later, made his NHL debut on the third-line while center Hendrix Lapierre served as a healthy scratch. Conor Sheary took Lapierre’s spot on the second-line. Vanecek appeared in his fourth straight game and seventh in the Capitals’ past nine.

Injured: C Nicklas Backstrom (hip, missed 12th straight game; week-to-week), RW T.J. Oshie (lower-body, fifth; week-to-week), LW Anthony Mantha (shoulder, second; indefinitely)

First Period

Right-wing Tom Wilson and left-wing Alex Ovechkin tipped defenseman Trevor Van Riemsdyk’s shot off of the draw from the point in front of the net and Wilson got the final touch on it to open the scoring for the Capitals 2:13 in. The assist was Ovechkin’s 599th of his NHL career, which tied Alex Kovalev for the fifth-most in league history.

The Capitals led 12-6 in shots, 5-3 in hits, won 65% of the draws, and had no giveaways while the Sabres had one through 20 minutes.

The Sabres led 2-1 in takeaways after one period of play.

Each team earned four blocked shots and did not score on one power play in the first.

Second Period

Center Connor McMichael ripped a shot from the left dot and the puck hit Sabres defenseman Christian Wolanin in the leg and floated past goaltender Dustin Tokarski to give the Capitals a 2-0 lead 2:30 into the period.

After Ovechkin blew a tire while trying to exit the defensive zone, center Cody Eakin stole the puck, stepped into the right circle, and ripped one past the right arm of Vanecek at 3:43.

Center Nic Dowd left the game with a lower-body injury and did not return.

Defenseman Dmitry Orlov released one from up top after getting center Evgeny Kuznetsov’s feed from by the half-wall and Ovechkin got a touch on it while cruising through the slot to restore the Capitals’ two-goal lead 8:55 into the second. The goal was Ovechkin’s 741st of his career, tied for Brett Hull for fourth in NHL history. Kuznetsov also earned the 432nd point of his career, which put him in sole place for 11th on the Capitals’ all-time list.

Among players to start a season at age 36 or older, Ovechkin required the second-fewest games in NHL history to reach the 20-point mark in a season (tied) (Mario Lemieux: nine in 2002-03).

The Capitals led 21-15 in shots, 12-5 in blocked shots, 14-8 in hits, won 56% of the draws, and did not score on one power play through 40 minutes.

The Sabres led 7-1 in takeaways and did not score on two power plays in the first two periods.

Each team recorded two giveaways through two and earned nine second-period shots.

Third Period

Left-wing Anders Bjork tucked a loose puck into the net after the Sabres scrambled to poke it in with Vanecek rolling around in the crease to cut the Capitals’ lead to one 3:07 into the third.

After Kuznetsov stripped a Sabre exiting the defensive zone, he fed Wilson, who was sneaking behind the defense down low and backhanded one through the five-hole of Tokarski at 6:45. It marked Wilson’s third goal in three games after not scoring in the Capitals’ first nine games this season.

Defenseman John Carlson let one go from the point through a screen of four players and the shot beat Tokarski past the high glove tipped the puck to make it 5-2 on the power play with 2:13 left. Ovechkin, who earned his 380th career multi-point game (seventh this season), earned his 600th career assist with the secondary helper. Kuznetsov was credited with his third assist of the game, the 300th of his NHL career.

Defenseman Colin Miller blasted one from the point off the the draw after getting a feed from defenseman Rasmus Dahlin from the other point to cut the Capitals’ lead back to two with 64 seconds remaining.

The Capitals led 30-28 in shots, 15-6 in blocked shots, 20-10 in hits, won 58% of the draws, scored once on three power plays.

The Sabres led 13-9 in third-period shots, 7-4 in takeaways, was held scoreless on three opportunities on the man advantage, and had three giveaways while the Capitals had four.

Next game: at Detroit Red Wings on Thursday (7:30 PM ET, NBC Sports Washington)

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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4 Responses to Capitals Beat Buffalo, 5-3; Alex Ovechkin Ties Brett Hull For Fourth All-Time With 741st Career Goal

  1. Anonymous says:

    Not too bad. If they can just keep their finger in the dike until players start getting healthy, they will be alright.

  2. Jon Sorensen says:

  3. Marky says:

    I would expect LaPierre to be playing again on Thursday for injured Dowd.

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