Capitals 3, Sabres 1
Not much to say about this one. The first half of the game looked just like it was a team that had not played in two weeks and another team that played the night before. But the Caps would find their flow again and they outskated the tire Sabres to eek out a win 3-1.
Alex Ovechkin did not score a point, but he was in the game physically. I think he needs a game or two to return to normal. Ovi puts so much heart in what he does, that the Russians' disappointing loss to Canada may have sort emotionally drained him. He had a few hits to start the game, but the top line didn't really play to their potential. It will come back though.
Originally Eric Fehr was credited with the opening goal, but that changed to Jason Chimera. He was in front too when Jeff Schultz unloaded one from the point. It deflected in past returning USA Hockey hero Ryan Miller. Up to that point, the play was sloppy and the game had little flow.
Buffalo would answer right back when Mike Green lost the puck in Brooks Laich's skates. The puck went right to an open Jochen Hecht and he scored to tie the game up at one apiece. It wouldn't be until half way through the third period when it seemed the Capitals found their legs and a bit of a stride.
Tomas Fleischmann carved a half circle to the outside and found a trailing Green. Green shot it high and it beat Miller. It broke the defensive stalemate and a Boyd Gordon billiard shot into the empty net sealed it for the Caps. They would also break a three game losing skid in the process.
Jose Theodore played very well. He looked rested and focused. For not being a very big goaltender, Theo has to play the angles and read the play faster than a bigger goaltender could. He made some dynamite saves in the third and he got help from a defensive squad that might be fighting for jobs now that two more faces are at practice.
The Caps keep their 13 point lead in the East safe as well as open a game and a half lead for the league lead overall. Both Chicago and San Jose are tied at 89 (Caps have 92). This kicks off a very difficult schedule down the stretch where at one point the Capitals will play back to back games then a game every other night for two straight weeks. Their only break will be three days off before they face Pittsburgh on March 24th.