Sunday, December 03, 2006

Caps Beat Buffalo At Their Own Game

Capitals 7, Sabres 4
ScoresheetWash PostBuff News

The Capitals’ scoring touch hasn’t subsided, it’s exploded. The Buffalo Sabres found out the hard way, the Caps can score. In a game that saw two Caps defenders get tallies, a multi-score game for someone not named Alex, Ryan Miller got chased from the net half way into the first period and Ovie gets thrown out of the game. Was this a good game or what?

The Caps scored early and never looked back. Scoring early and often put the Sabres on their heels. Richard Zednik opened the scoring, followed by Bryan Muir, Matt Pettinger (who scored two), Ben Clymer, Alex Ovechkin and John Erskine. Every time it looked like Buffalo was about to gain momentum, the Caps answered back.

Ovie was thrown in the second after a check from behind on Daniel Briere who turned away from the from the play to go for a change. Briere went head first into the wall and was not seriously injured. The Refs made the right call in throwing the forward out of the game, but I think it was a bad hit by Ovechkin and he knew it:

“He got turned around and I hit him,” Ovechkin said, adding that he didn't think the infraction warrants a suspension. “I didn't want to give him some injury. It was an accident.” – AP

Lindy Ruff thought otherwise saying Ovie should be punished for the infraction (Sore loser). I don’t think that hit represents Ovechkin’s physical play, and Ruff knows that. The Sabres coach is just trying to protect his player. But, Briere never missed a shift.

Erskine’s goal to cap the win was just a clearing attempt that went off the boards and drifted down into the Buffalo empty net. By far the best defensive player for the Capitals this year, John Erskine scored only his 4th career goal, but it couldn’t have happened to a better Caps player. His hard working, gritty style of play is helping the Capitals win games. Not to mention his lucky bounces.

Overall Grade: A

Besides the Ovechkin hit, I think the Caps played one of their most complete games of the season. The offensive threat is getting more confidence as the season progresses and the Caps are finding ways to win with key players out of their line up (Ovie’s toss, Zednik’s injury). The Caps have to keep their momentum going because there is no let up in the schedule.

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