Buffalo (22-10-3) vs. Washington (22-8-6)
The Sabres are coming off of a overtime win in Toronto, in which the team played without Thomas Vanek and Patrick Kaleta. The Capitals have not played since Saturday, when they scored four times in the third to defeat Edmonton.
The Capitals have 130 goals scored, the most in the league. In the two games against Buffalo, the Caps have only scored two goals. Washington got off to a quick start, scoring just over a minute into the game. Nicklas Backstrom received a one timer from Alexander Ovechkin and shot it past Ryan Miller for the 1-0 lead. A few minutes later Mike Green took a shot that deflected off of a Sabres stick and went just under the crossbar. Just like that the Capitals had an early 2-0 advantage.
The Capitals now have 47 first period goals, the most in the league. Washington outshot the Sabres 15-4 in the first period. Buffalo would have to play catch up in order to get back into this game.
The Sabres would strike back as Paul Gaustad shot it past Michal Neuvirth to cut the Washington lead in half, but not for long. Brendan Morrison put home a rebound to give the Capitals their 2nd two goal lead of the night.
The Sabres came right back with a goal of their own. Tim Connolly deflected in a shot from Steve Montador to put the Sabres back within one. The Sabres put 18 shots on net in the second period, allowing them to get back into the game.
In the third, Washington would take advantage of a 5 on 3 power play, scoring twice. Backstrom scored his second of the night, followed by an Ovechkin goal to break the game wide open. The Sabres stayed in the game up until the two man advantage for Washington. The Capitals have led in 35 of 37 games this season.
Ryan Miller had a rare off night in net for Buffalo. He stopped 33 of 38 shots on goal. Ovechkin and the Capitals were too much for the Sabres, as they take a 2-1 lead in the season series. It was the first time Buffalo has allowed more than three goals in a game since November 28th, a span of 16 games.
The two day holiday break is now in effect. Buffalo’s next game will be on Saturday when they host the Ottawa Senators. Don’t be surprised to see Patrick Kaleta back in the lineup for that game, as he may try to get back at Jarkko Ruutu. Ruutu delivered a head shot to Kaleta in their previous meeting, injuring the Sabres forward.