Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff knew Washington didn't get much sleep
after the Capitals played a game in New York that started at 8 p.m.
and wasn't decided until the Rangers won in the 15th round of a
He wanted the Sabres to turn up the intensity, and they often
pushed the Capitals back on their heels by controlling play.
"That's a tough trip for them. That's a tough turnaround,"
Ruff said. "We talked about really trying to press, having both
(defensemen) pinching, sending in two guys off all draws and
creating as much pressure as we could."
The Sabres got nine of the game's first 10 shots and held a
29-19 edge overall as the Capitals looked worn down at times.
Buffalo had numerous scoring chances but either missed or saw
Washington goalie Olie Kolzig turn them away. Kolzig made 26 saves.
"When you play a National Hockey League game 17 hours after the
last game, I just don't think that's right," Capitals coach Glen
Hanlon said. "But we didn't even talk about it, and we didn't use
it as an excuse. At the end, we were still working hard."
Vanek scored the go-ahead goal, and Hecht added a short-handed
score late in the third period. Pominville also was on the ice
during a wild final minute when Washington pulled Kolzig, and
Buffalo had two players on the ice without sticks. The puck was
cleared with 25 seconds left.
"It's a dream come true," Pominville said. "Hopefully, it can
Maxim Afinogenov and Derek Roy assisted on the first two goals.
Afinogenov made perfect crossing passes on each to help the Sabres
improve to 5-0-0-1 in their last six games.
Washington has lost four straight.
Buffalo's Martin Biron finished with 17 saves and made a big
stop on his brother, Mathieu, in the second period. Biron also had
to fend off a late surge as Washington pressed for the tying goal.
"They really came on strong in the last five minutes," Martin
Biron said. "We got a little lucky in the last minute. I think
they might've hit three posts, a crossbar."
The Sabres took a 1-0 lead when Pominville scored by redirecting
Afinogenov's pass by Kolzig for a power-play goal 3:56 in.
Washington tied it when Steve Eminger scored on a power-play
goal at 5:16 of the second period, putting away the rebound of his
own shot. Rookie Alexander Ovechkin assisted to give him at least
one point in four straight games.
Vanek put Buffalo on top for good by converting another slick
cross from Afinogenov with 48.8 seconds left in the second period.
Hecht flipped a back-hander past Kolzig for a 3-1 lead with 3:37
remaining. Matt Pettinger answered for Washington with 1:59
The Sabres have scored power-play goals in 17 of 18 games.
... Eminger hadn't scored a goal in 17 games. ... Buffalo's
short-handed goal was its first of the season.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Arena: Verizon Center Location: Washington, District of Columbia
Referees: Tom Kowal, Chris Rooney Linesmen: Pierre Champoux, Michel Cormier
Attendance: 11,658 (63.4% full)
Team Stat Comparison
Power Play Goals
Power Play Opportunities
Shots on Goal
Jason Pominville (1)
(Power Play) Assists: Maxim Afinogenov, Derek Roy
Steve Eminger (3)
(Power Play) Assists: Bryan Muir, Alex Ovechkin
Thomas Vanek (4)
Assists: Maxim Afinogenov, Derek Roy
Jochen Hecht (5)
(Shorthanded) Assist: Tim Connolly
Matt Pettinger (5)
Assists: Jeff Halpern, Brian Willsie