Capitals 3, Sabres 5
Scoresheet - Wash Post
Things were just going swimmingly, until Buffalo came to town. The Caps see their win streak come to a screeching halt off of poor goaltending. Not even a lucky bounce that tied the game in the third could help overcome some bad breakdowns on defense and even worse goaltending.
Olie Kolzig still has a problem letting in soft goals at the worst times. A give away that left the net wide open and a sharp angle shot both bested Kolzig. The Caps did lead this game at one point (at two points actually), but due to some goaltending miscues the Sabres stuck around long enough to score a couple key goals late.
The night started off well to, the Caps jumped to a one goal lead on a power play goal by Alex Ovechkin, his 23rd on the year. But then a bad turnover by Kolzig and Derek Roy stashed the puck in a wide open net with a little more than a minute left in the period. In the second the Caps got off to a quick start when Nick Backstrom scored to give the Caps the lead once more. Only to see the Capitals' defense breakdown late in the second and allowed Maxime Afinogenov a break away on Olie (this goal wasn't Kolzig's fault either, Mike Green actually poked checked the puck off of Aginogenov's stick and it beat Kolzig and went off the post and in). Then early in the third the Sabres get a quick goal on the sharp angle, Kolzig had let a another softy in.
The Caps did get a lucky bounce in the middle of the third, Brooks Laich scored his 6th goal of the year after the puck took a strange bounce off the boards catching Ryan Miller out of his net. But even with the tie, it seemed the Sabres out lasted the Capitals and late in the game Buffalo pinned the Caps in their zone for a good minute and a half/two minutes before finally scoring. Add an empty net goal and the Caps have no one to blame but themselves for their loss, well and Kolzig.
It was one of the worst games I have seen Kolzig play. Usually, when the Caps are in a tight game, Kolzig is a bit more sure footed but not this season. The Capitals offense has to make up for their goaltenders soft goals. During their short winning run, the veteran goaltender has let in 2 or more goals a game, lucky for the Capitals were able to scored more than was scored against. Kolzig always seems good for a softie or two every game. I hate to say it, but the Caps may have seen Kolzig's best years behind him.
Caps can't dwell too much on this loss, they have to pull it back together to face off with a southeast rival Tampa Bay on Saturday night. Brent Johnson will probably get the call in net, and hopefully he can fair better.
The Florida Panthers leap-frogged the Atlanta Thrashers for third in the division, while the Caps still struggle to make up some ground. Now they are chasing the Thrashers who are a game and a half ahead of the Caps. The Caps are still 8 points behind the 8th place Toronto Maple Leafs who are tied with Philadelphia with points at 34. Caps are still in a three way tie with LA and Phoenix for worst in the league.