Capitals 2, Sabres 3 OT
Coming into tonight's game, the Buffalo Sabres were struggling to score goals and struggling to win games. The Capitals were riding a six game winning streak and looking pretty unstoppable. On the shaky ice at HSBC Arena in Buffalo, the Sabres were able to down the Capitals in overtime as Thomas Vanek took it upon himself to make some great moves to the net and score with just a minute remaining in the overtime period beating the Capitals 3-2.
Things got off to a pretty good start for the Caps for a change. They were able to benefit from a Tyler Myers turnover inside the Sabres' zone. Alex Semin snatched up the wobbly dump off the boards and found Karl Alzner entering the zone late. Alzner had the time to wind up and shoot, which he did and beat Ryan Miller on the short side.
After much success in the second period this year for the Caps, their luck seem to run out as they allowed two goals and only could muster up 4 shots on the Buffalo goal keeper. In the third period Nick Backstrom was able to tie it when Jason Chimera found him open in the slot. Backstrom took his time, avoiding a sliding block from the Sabre defender, and buried it top left corner over Miller's shoulder.
Vanek would finish it all off in OT as he was originally forced out of the zone by Marcus Johansson, but turned up ice with some speed, eluded two Caps' defenders and stick handled around Braden Holtby's stick check to score easily. He handed the Caps their first overtime loss of the season.
The Capitals do escape out of Buffalo with at least a point, keeping them atop the league with 25 points (12-4-1). While they have been good with a lead, it has been rare that they score first. In fact out of 17 games played this season, they have only scored first in 5 games. Of that they have won 3 games, lost one and the over time loss tonight. They have opened a 7 point lead in the Southeast Division over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Semin Streak Soldiers On
While not able to score a goal tonight, Alex Semin did keep his point streak alive to seven games now. This after a spectacular game against the Lightning where he had 5 points which included a hattrick. It was also the first point Semin has scored at HSBC arena in his career.
The Capitals were called for 3 double minors in the game. Two of them high sticking double minors after the offenders drew blood. The other was a cross check call against Chimera and another two were added for unsportsmanlike for being a bit gabby about the call afterward. The long penalty kills hampered the Caps offensive flow, they were only able to achieve 4 shots in the middle frame. The Sabres were able to score on the Tomas Fleischmann double minor to take the lead in the second period.
Alex Ovechkin had a glorious opportunity when Nick Backstrom sprung him free on a break away on Buffalo's goaltender Miller. But Ovi didn't score as Miller stopped him with the leg pad after the deke. A goal would have put the Caps up 2-1 in the first period. Beyond that, Ovechkin seemed to struggle against the Sabre's double and triple teaming. He would become a non-factor in this game with no points, a minus one with only a single shot on net. Ovi did throw his body around, matching team mate Matt Hendricks for most hits by a Caps' player tonight (5).
Marcus Johansson made his return to the line up in ten games. He was a bit sluggish at times in the opening two frames, but his speed came back in the third period. MJ90 saw some time with the top line, centering Ovechkin and Mike Knuble. He would finish a minus one, with three shots on net and struggled on the face off dot (3-6, 33%).
Back to Back Woes
Again the Capitals have had a hard time in games they play two nights in a row. Last time the Caps had two games in two nights, they lost the first game and exploded in the second game against the Calgary Flames. They will face of against the Atlanta Thrashers back at the phone boot at 5 pm Sunday evening.