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
”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
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
”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
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