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Game Recap

Kane leads Sabres past Capitals

Robin Lehner stops 24 shots to help Buffalo defeat Washington

Recap

It may not have been the most exciting game, but the Buffalo Sabres put together one of their better efforts on Tuesday night, defeating the Washington Capitals by a 3-1 score at KeyBank Center.

Benoit Pouliot scored the eventual game-winning goal as he put on a stick-handling display while surrounded by a trio of Capitals. He then beat Philipp Grubauer to put Buffalo in front early in the third period.

“I got a lucky bounce, and just tried to put it on net. It was nice and a huge win for us.” – Pouliot

From there, the Sabres played sound defensively and shut down any offensive threats by Washington.

Robin Lehner was strong in goal, stopping 24 of 25 for his fourth win of the season. At the other end, Grubauer allowed just two goals on 31 shots, but fell to 0-4-1.

“That was the best defensive game I’ve seen from our forwards,” Lehner said.

In his 150th career game with Buffalo, Evander Kane scored his team-leading eighth goal after a quick setup from Jack Eichel, who stripped Brooks Orpik of the puck behind the net. Kane would seal Buffalo’s win with an empty-net goal in the final minute for his ninth of the year, giving him his 27th career multi-goal game.

“We stuck with it. We did what we had to do to get the two points.” – Kane

For Washington, it was Alex Ovechkin who notched the lone goal, his 13th goal after a fine pass from Devante Smith-Pelly. In 43 career games against Buffalo, Ovechkin has 43 points (27 goals, 16 assists).

During the second period, Tom Wilson laid a big hit on Sam Reinhart along the boards, but defenseman Jake McCabe stepped up and dropped the gloves. Although McCabe didn’t exactly win, it was nice to see someone jump to Reinhart’s defense.

That hit on Reinhart appeared to shift momentum in Washington’s favor as the Capitals were sparked by the physical play. However, it wouldn’t last long. 

With Washington playing the night before, and Buffalo off since Saturday, the Sabres quieted the Capitals in the last 20 minutes of play, capping a solid performance and earning the victory.

Justin Falk was part of the reason Buffalo was successful, getting in the right spot and blocking multiple shots.

After allowing four quick goals against the Dallas Stars in Saturday’s game, the Sabres came out and played a much better first period, outshooting Washington, 15-4. The 15 shots were a season-high for Buffalo in one period, while the four against was the lowest amount given up.

Aside from the fighting major, Buffalo took just one penalty in the game, a slashing penalty by Jordan Nolan. Buffalo killed it off and improved to a perfect 18-for-18 on the penalty kill at home.

It was an inspiring effort and something fans haven’t seen much of this season. 

“We had that ‘never quit’ attitude, big efforts from some guys, playing with that passion, playing with that fire, that’s the way we need to play. It’s a good step for us. We need to keep doing the things we did tonight.” – Eichel

The Sabres will look to build from this as they have a couple days off before they host the Florida Panthers on Friday night. That game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. puck drop.

Scoring

Penalties

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Metropolitan Division Leaders:
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Wild Card leaders:
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Central Division Leaders:
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Wild Card leaders:
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