Mitchell's goal in third breaks tie, lifts Sabres past Capitals

The Sabres' Matt Moulson celebrates after scoring a second-period goal against the Capitals.

Rob Carr / Getty Images North America


Buffalo coach Ted Nolan would rather discuss perseverance than luck. The Sabres used a little of both to extend their winning streak.

Torrey Mitchell scored the tiebreaking goal with 7:42 left, Jhonas Enroth stopped 43 shots, and the Sabres beat the Washington Capitals 2-1 Saturday night for their third straight win.

Buffalo won despite being outshot 44-26, getting a goal after a perfect bounce off the back wall and surviving eight shots from Alex Ovechkin -- including one that banged off the post.

"I'm not a big believer in luck. I believe the harder you work the luckier you get, if there is such a thing," Nolan said. "We kept trying to do the same things over and over again, and it's nice to see that when you do that and have some perseverance, you get rewarded for it."

Washington's Braden Holtby made the initial save on Brian Gionta, but Mitchell knocked in the rebound for his third goal.

Mitchell had left the game briefly earlier in the period after taking a puck off his left foot.

"Lot of smiles (now), once adrenalin wears off he could be a little sore," Nolan said of Mitchell, who was getting treatment after the game.

Matt Moulson also scored for Buffalo, which began the day last in the league with 12 points and has won three in a row for the first time since Feb. 25-28.

Washington's Matt Niskanen tied the score with a power-play goal at 5:54 of the third period, and Holtby finished with 24 saves.

Enroth made 20 saves in the second period alone, and closed with several in the final minute after Washington pulled its goalie.

The Sabres were playing their first game since Tuesday following the postponement of Friday night's home game against the New York Rangers due to the severe snow storm in the Buffalo region.

Washington had won five of seven.

We threw 77 pucks roughly to the net.but we need to have a little more net presence," Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. "When a goaltender's good and seeing the puck, then you've got to try and make him not see the puck. Need a little more traffic, need second efforts."

With Mike Weber off for hooking, Niskanen tied it on Washington's 35th shot. He took a pass from Nicklas Backstrom and his shot from the slot deflected off a Sabres defender and past Enroth for his first goal of the season.

Washington outshot Buffalo 31-14 over the first 40 minutes but trailed 1-0.

Midway through the second, Tyler Ennis fired wide to the right of Holtby. The puck bounced off the end boards to Moulson left of the net, and he backhanded a shot past the sprawling Holtby at the 9:45 mark.

"I think we did a little bit of better job getting pucks toward the net (in the second period), that's when you start to get bounces," Moulson said.

Later in the period Ovechkin beat Enroth, but hit the post, not the back of the net.

"You can tell when he's in the zone, he's pretty effective," Nolan said of Enroth. "Tonight he made some big, big saves to keep us in the game, and maybe the only place Ovechkin had to shoot was that goal post."

NOTES: The Sabres' home game against the Rangers has been rescheduled for Friday, Feb. 20. Their game against the Ottawa Senators, scheduled to be played that night in Buffalo, has been moved to Monday, Dec. 15. ... Washington re-assigned RW Chris Brown to Hershey of the American Hockey League. Brown scored one goal in five games this season with the Capitals. ... Sabres D Nikita Zadorov played in his 10th NHL game of the season, thereby activating his three-year rookie contract. ... Buffalo C Cody McCormick left after being hit on the head by a skate in the first period and didn't return. ... Washington D Mike Green left with an upper body injury.

Send feedback on our
new story page