NHL Game Summary - Washington at Buffalo
(Wednesday, March 21st)
Final Score: Buffalo 5, Washington 2
Buffalo, NY (Sports Network) - Drew Stafford scored a pair of goals, as the Buffalo Sabres reached the 100-point mark for the second straight year with a 5-2 win over the Washington Capitals at HSBC Arena.
Dainius Zubrus donated two assists while Ryan Miller came up with 24 saves for the Sabres, who have won three of four and are currently the Eastern Conference's top seed with 101 points.
Donald Brashear and Brian Pothier both lit the lamp for Washington, which had a two-game winning streak halted. Olaf Kolzig allowed five goals on 31 shots in a losing effort.
"Any loss is not very enjoyable at this point in time," said Caps coach Glen Hanlon. "For us, here is a good model for us to learn from. They played well defensively."
It appeared that Buffalo had broken a scoreless stalemate with 12:35 remaining in the first period, but a Stafford goal was waived off after replays showed that he pushed the puck into the net with his hand.
It took just 40 seconds of ice time in the second period, though, for Buffalo to make amends. The power-play marker was set up by a fluke bounce, as Dmitri Kalinin's shot from the point sailed high over the net before caroming off the wall and back out front. Derek Roy picked up the loose disc in the slot and punched it into the open net for a 1-0 lead.
Less than eight minutes later, Clarke MacArthur controlled the puck between the circles following a turnover and released a shot that appeared to change direction in front before finding the back of the cage.
Pothier cut Washington's deficit in half with five minutes remaining in the second with a blast from the point, but the Sabres earned a power play moments later and cashed in to regain a two-goal edge. Daniel Briere did most of the work, as he tracked down a faceoff win behind the Capital's goal line, popped out front and then slipped a shot past Kolzig to make it 3-1.
Stafford scored his 10th goal of the year midway through the final stanza on a rebound putback, then notched No. 11 minutes later with a series of pretty moves. He did it all on his own, flying into the zone along the right side before deeking his defender to create some space. Then, from the right circle, Stafford flicked a wrister that sailed between Kolzig's outstretched glove and the near-side crossbar.
"I'm glad it went in," Stafford said. "I think if I would have messed that one up I would of got in trouble. It was good, it's something you've got to try. Luckily I got a lucky break there. I think it went off the post. It was good."
Brashear capped the scoring with a tally from the right side of the net with 1:35 left.
The Sabres have already clinched a playoff berth...This was the first of two games in a row at home for Buffalo, which is 24-10-3 as the host club this season...Washington standout forward Alexander Ovechkin was held scoreless for the third straight game, and has just four points over the last nine games...Stafford has five goals in his last four games...Buffalo scored on the power play for the first time in eight games.
03/22 00:06:54 ET