Slow start costs Sabres


A holiday matinee against one of the league’s best teams set the stage for Monday’s game at Keybank Center, but the Buffalo Sabres struggled to find offense in a 3-2 loss to the Washington Capitals.

The Sabres sported their white Winter Classic jerseys for the game, and Rick Jeanneret and Rob Ray spent the afternoon calling the action from section 108, but neither provided any kind of spark for the team.

It was more of the same for Buffalo as it conceded two points on home ice for the 22nd time in 30 games this season. The team also fell to 0-6-1 in afternoon games.

The Sabres didn’t give fans much to get excited about as they had a difficult time creating any opportunities in the Washington end.

Any sense of urgency was non-existence until the third period, trailing by two. It’s been an ongoing issue all season, and Monday was no different.

Kyle Okposo got credit for Buffalo’s goal after he deflected in Scott Wilson’s shot. With an assist, Wilson recorded his fifth point in the last six games. The goal brought the Sabres within one, but a giveaway by Rasmus Ristolainen gave Evgeny Kuznetsov an empty-net goal.

Evander Kane got that goal back, but only with seconds remaining. Another slow start ultimately was the difference as they were unable to overcome the early two-goal deficit.

“I’m going to play as hard as I can until I’m moved and when that happens we’ll worry about it.” – Kane

Capitals’ goaltender Philipp Grubauer shut Buffalo down with seemingly relative ease en route to his sixth victory of the season.

Grubauer finished the day with 32 saves on 34 shots. At the other end, it was Chad Johnson in goal for Buffalo as Robin Lehner is day-to-day with an injury. Johnson allowed two goals on 29 shots and appreciated the team’s defense in the opening period.

“I thought we controlled where the shots were coming from. The speed on rushes is hard, I thought we controlled it for the most part.” – Johnson

Once again, it was Alexander Ovechkin who did the damage for the caps, scoring his league-leading 35th goal.

In 44 career games against Buffalo, Ovechkin has accumulated 28 goals and 16 assists for 44 points.

The second Washington goal was credited to John Carlson after Okposo just failed to keep the puck from crossing the line.

The Sabres have a couple days off before they take on the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday at Little Caesars Arena. Puck drop is slated for 7:30 p.m.



Kevin Freiheit
Kevin Freiheit
I founded Buffalo Hockey Central in 2008 and have poured hours and hours into this site. Luckily, we have a great team of writers and designers who have helped keep this up and running despite a ton of out-of-pocket costs. We do this because we enjoy it, and we're desperate to see the Sabres win the Cup someday, but they have to make the playoffs first.
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