Sabres 5, Capitals 1

Jason Pominville was simply happy that everybody was still in

one piece after the Buffalo Sabres’ victory over the Washington


Luke Adam scored twice, Jhonas Enroth made 26 saves, and Zack

Kassian scored his first NHL goal to help injury-riddled Buffalo

beat Washington 5-1 on Saturday night.

Despite playing without nine regulars – including defenseman

Robyn Regehr (upper body) and forward Drew Stafford (lower body),

who were both hurt Friday night in a loss to Columbus – the Sabres

played one of their best games of the year to snap a three-game

winless streak.

”It was great to get through this one without any injuries,”

Pominville said half-kiddingly. ”It’s fun to see guys come up, be

prepared, and be ready to play.”

Enroth made his seventh straight start for injured starter Ryan

Miller (concussion).

Along with Miller, Regehr, and Stafford, the Sabres were also

without forwards Tyler Ennis (ankle), Cody McCormick (upper body),

Brad Boyes (right leg), Patrick Kaleta (lower body), and defensemen

Tyler Myers (broken wrist), and Mike Weber (upper body).

The Sabres have had three players make their NHL debut in each

of the last three games. Against Washington, it was defenseman

Brayden McNabb’s turn after being recalled from Rochester of the

AHL, while journeyman Paul Szczechura also was drecalled from

Rochester on Saturday and picked up a pair of assists.

It was Szczechura’s first NHL action since April 2, 2010, when

he was with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

”It’s the longest (injury) list I’ve seen since I’ve been

here,” said Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff, who began his Sabres

coaching career in 1997.

Kassian, Buffalo’s top prospect, played in his first NHL game

against the Blue Jackets, and his first goal of his career came

just 27 seconds after Washington’s Jason Chimera converted a

penalty shot in the second period to cut the Sabres’ lead to


”We have a lot of guys out of the lineup, so as a call-up you

just want to keep it simple, work hard every night, and do your

job,” Kassian said. ”You have to try and give your team a chance

to win, and play your role. You’re not going out there to be a game


Pominville and Jochen Hecht also scored to help the Sabres

(13-9-1) win for the first time in four games at home.

”You have to play hard every night regardless if you have your

full lineup or not,” said Adam, who had his second two-goal game

of the season and his career. ”You can’t afford to make mistakes,

and you need everyone going every night.”

The Capitals (12-9-1) looked very much like the team that has

been listless throughout a 3-7-1 stretch. They’ve now lost four

straight on the road by a combined score of 19-4.

”We try our best and know how we have to play, but we don’t

play,” said Alex Ovechkin, who was a minus-4, tying a career high.

”We make mistakes in our zone and it costs us goals and costs us


Tomas Vokoun had little help in front of him, and finished with

23 saves.

”This group has got to learn how to be mentally strong,”

Washington coach Bruce Boudreau said. ”It hasn’t had a lot of

adversity in the last four years, unless it was in the playoffs.

Now we’ve reached some adversity, and some guys are having a hard

time with it.”

Adam extended Buffalo’s lead to 4-1 just 1:12 into the third

with his second of the game, sending a wrist shot past Vokoun from

the right circle.

Hecht made it 5-1 with a breakaway goal while Buffalo was

short-handed with 5:21 left in the third.

Chimera converted his penalty shot attempt 6:39 into the second

to make it 2-1. He was hauled down by Buffalo defenseman Christian


Kassian pushed Buffalo’s lead to 3-1 when his snap shot from the

right circle squirted between Vokoun’s pads.

Adam opened the scoring midway through the first period,

snapping home a shot from the slot after Washington defenseman

Dennis Wideman’s clearing attempt went off of Szczechura.

Pominville made it 2-0 with 4:37 left in the first when he

banged home a rebound from in tight.

”The last couple of weeks have been rough on the injury

front,” Adam said. ”The guys that have come up have done an

awesome job.”

NOTES: Szczechura picked up his first points since March 25,

2010, while with Tampa Bay. … Washington D John Erskine missed

his fourth game because of a shoulder injury. … The Capitals

dropped to 5-1-1 against the Sabres in the last seven meetings. …

The Sabres snapped a three-game losing streak to Washington. …

Buffalo had stopped seven straight penalty shots before Chimera

cashed in.