Grabo’s face (Photo: Patrick McDermott)
Those of you nursing a hangover on Sunday afternoon found yourself in good company as the Washington Capitals and Buffalo Sabres played a sleepy game in which not much happened. The Caps should have been able to dominate the worst team in the league, but that only kind of happened. Three Caps lines and four defenders seemed to be in control of this one, but the Sabres pwned the Caps depth enough to force overtime and win it in the gimmick. Take a whiff of some coffee grounds and follow me to the scoring summary.
Jason Chimera got on the board first as his centering pass went off a Sabres defenseman who was trying to stop Marcus Johansson’s net-crash. Tyler Ennis struck back for the Sabres with a rebound goal on the power play. The second period was uneventful aside from some penalties. Late in the third, Ryan Miller robbed Mikhail Grabovski and Karl Alzner’s go-ahead goal got undone by a tripping call. Buffalo owned overtime but couldn’t put the biscuit in the basket, so here comes the shootout recap. Yey.
Shootout recap bullets!
Sabres beat Caps 2-1 (SO).
Photo: Bill Wippert
The Buffalo Sabres are having a rough season. They’re the worst team in the league and possibly one of the worst teams we’ve seen in this whole era. And yet, even a really bad team will beat a goalie sometimes. That’s exactly what happened on Sunday as the Sabres eked out a lead in the second period despite getting outpossessed like cray cray. No worries though, the Caps stole the game back and forced overtime. But then there was still the small matter of Ryan Miller.
After 39 scoreless minutes Drew Stafford tipped in Christian Ehrhoff’s shot while John Erskine checked his fantasy football scores or something. Troy Brouwer finally cracked Ryan Miller after 32 saved shots with a streaking snapper in the third. It stood like that through regulation and overtime.
Sabres beat Caps 2-1 (Shootout)!
Photo credit: Bill Wippert
The Washington Capitals came out ice-cold against the Buffalo Sabres in a game they should’ve been highly motivated to win. With the playoffs still possible, the Caps let the Sabres run away with a two-goal lead before mounting their comeback. The Caps ran the cycle — with goals by Ovechkin on the power play, a shorthanded goal by Brouwer, and 6-on-5 goal by Mike Green.
Overtime couldn’t decide the game, so to the shootout we went. Ovechkin won it. Because he’s a big damn hero, sir.
Caps beat Sabres 4-3 (Shootout)
[Ed. note: Craig Brownstein, PuckBuddy and resident film scholar, provides this look at our dance with the Buffalo Slugs, as imagined through the lens of Ingmar Bergman. You expected different, maybe? Read, learn, and tweet his nose here.]
Cries and Whispers: I scored last-minute tickets to the Isles game courtesy of a lovely young lady, and we sat in the #415 Lounge, just one seat from Sam Wolk, a distinct pleasure in and of itself. (My left ear has finally stopped ringing). Down by two in the early going, I met some friends on the concourse during the first intermission. Cue the hand-wringing, nay-saying, and rending of garments. Third period hopes were soon dashed, slipping between Mike Green’s skates. It was like a bad movie. Make that a depressing movie, think Cassavetes, or in honor of our stoic Swedish players, Bergman may be more appropriate.
Nineteen seconds, one goal. (Photo credit: Greg Fiume)
The Washington Capitals and Buffalo Sabres are neck-and-neck in a battle for playoff position. The Caps are just one point behind the Sabres as the lockout shortened regular season begins to come to a close. One problem, though: the spot they’re fighting for is 13th place in the Eastern Conference.
This season has been pretty abhorrent for fans in Buffalo and Washington. The Caps, however, still have time to salvage this year. Playing in hockey’s weakest division, the Caps came into Sunday’s game nine points out the the Southeast-leading Winnipeg Jets with 21 games left to play. But if Washington want to be playing hockey in May, that drive has to start now. Maybe it did. Thirty hours after the start of their deflating but fight filled 4-1 loss to the Boston Bruins, Washington showed no St. Patrick’s Day hangover (I’m sorry).
Caps beat Sabres 5-3.
Photo credit: Patrick McDermott
Although hockey has been back for over a week now, the lockout seemed longer to the Washington Capitals and their fans. Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Sabres put a definitive end to that. The Caps were poised, aggressive, and — most importantly– victorious for the first time this season.
And oh yeah, Ovi scored.
John Carlson allowed a bad breakaway that became a goal for Tyler Ennis, but Joel Ward occupied the slot a few minutes later to restore the tie. John Erskine scored a sneaky goal from outside to give the Caps their first lead since the
season home opener vs. Winnipeg. Then, Alex Ovechkin scored a glorious powerplay goal with a one-timer that went top shelf on Ryan Miller. Marcus Foligno got one back for Buffalo, feeding at Neuvirth’s trough to make it 3-2.
Caps beat Sabres 3-2!
Photo credit: Rob Carr
If there was one moment that epitomized Tuesday’s game, it came in the waning moments of the second period. With the Capitals on the power play with chance to narrow the Sabres lead to one heading into the final intermission, Keith Aucoin chipped the puck along the boards to Alex Ovechkin, who was playing the point at the blueline. Ovi fumbled the slow moving puck, got out muscled by Jason Pominville and then stumbled to the ice. Pominville finished the sequence by deflating any hope there was on the Capitals bench when his shot hit the back of the net. Ovechkin smashed his stick against the goal post in frustration.
So it all comes down to this. A season full of mediocre and substandard Caps performances could very well hinge upon Tuesday night’s tilt against the Sabres. Or, as we like to call them, the godless and heathen Sabres. Tuesday night at Verizon is when we glance up into the rear-view mirror and see all those squandered games and lost opportunities receding into the distance. Had the Caps gotten their heads and asses wired together at any point between November and say, last Friday’s night’s OT loss to the Jets, we wouldn’t be on pins and needles headed into Tuesday evening, or in my particular case, on lithium and Maker’s Mark.
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