Marcus Johansson put home a power play feed from Evgeny Kuznetsov with 11:28 to go in the 3rd period to give the Capitals a 3-2 lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Andre Burakovsky scored just over a minute later to give the Capitals a two goal advantage. Alex Ovechkin added two goals in the third period, including an empty netter, to turn the Sabres second period lead into a rout for the Caps. They were numbers 496 and 497 of Ovechkin’s career in his quest for 500.
Brian Gionta and Zemgus Girgensons notched the tallies for Buffalo, while rookie Jack Eichel assisted on both. The Sabres couldn’t hold on to the 2-1 advantage they held after 40 minutes, as Washington’s pressure was too much for the Buffalo defense.
“They had some good looks, (Johnson) made some great saves, it was a disappointing way to give up a goal.” – Dan Bylsma
Washington scored four unanswered goals in the 3rd period to win both games of the home and home series with the Sabres. The two teams will meet again on January 16th in Buffalo.
Chad Johnson held off 42 shots for the Sabres, but it wasn’t enough as Washington consistently peppered him with shots all night long. They put up 14, 14 and 15 shots in the three periods, respectively.
Braden Holtby picked up the win for the Caps, his 25th of the year. He has been one of the league’s best goaltenders so far this season and once again was on his A-game for the 1st place Capitals. Washington has the most points in the NHL as we head to the new year.
It’s a quick turnaround for Buffalo as they go back home to take on the Islanders tomorrow night at the First Niagara Center. It will be the fourth of a five game in eight day stretch for the Sabres. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. on New Year’s Eve.