Three days after a four-goal comeback against the New York Rangers, the Washington Capitals returned to Verizon Center to face another team from New York state: Not the Islanders, but the Buffalo Sabres. Behind goals from Viktor Kozlov, Boyd Gordon, and Alexander Ovechkin, the Capitals defeated the Sabres by a score of 3 to 2 to improve to 14-1-1 at home.
After a scoreless first period, Viktor Kozlov scored the first goal of the game late in the second period with assists from Nicklas Backstrom and Bryan Helmer. Heading into the final frame, the Capitals led 1 to 0.
Two minutes into the third period, Boyd Gordon scored to put the Capitals up 2 goals. However, Thomas Vanek scored a power play goal to cut the Washington lead in half. Alexander Ovechkin would find the net for the 23rd time this season to restore Washington’s two goal lead. Buffalo made a late push at the end of the game when Maxim Afinogenov scored with 1:49 left in the game.
Buffalo goalie Patrick Lalime stopped 31 of 34 Washington shots while Washington’s Jose Theodore made 22 saves on 24 shots.
Prior to Friday’s game, the goaltending situation for Buffalo was unclear because the Sabres also play on Saturday against the New York Islanders. Because Lalime started on Friday, expect Ryan Miller to step in between the pipes on Saturday.