BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP)T.J. Oshie and Evgeny Kuznetsov had shootout goals for the Washington Capitals in their 3-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night.
Martin Fehervary and Lars Eller scored in regulation, and Vitek Vanecek stopped 29 shots for the Capitals, who rebounded from Friday’s 4-2 loss to Pittsburgh to earn a point for the 11th time in 12 games.
”Big comeback, for sure,” said Fehervary, who scored the tying goal in the third period. ”Back-to-back games always hard, and we stepped up in the third period.”
Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made 40 saves for the Sabres, who saw goals from Vinnie Hinostroza and Will Butcher. Buffalo snapped a streak of five regulation losses but extended its seven-game winless skid and fell to 3-14-3 over the past 20 games.
Fehervary scored for the Capitals at 5:41 in the third period with an assist from Alex Ovechkin. It was the first goal in 13 games for defenseman, who was a game-time decision after leaving Friday night’s game following a high hit from Pittsburgh’s Brock McGinn.
”It was bad hit,” Fehervary said. ”But I felt way better today. So I’m happy.”
Capitals coach Peter Laviolette said it was ”nice to see him get rewarded with a big goal like that because he plays so hard every night,”
Laviolette also praised the toughness shown by Capitals players who ”required a little bit of repair work” before rallying in the third period.
Oshie came back after getting bloodied by a high stick from Buffalo’s Kyle Okposo and receiving stitches underneath his eye late in the second period. Oshie’s 21st deciding shootout goal tied him with Chicago’s Patrick Kane for second all-time, and his 46 shootout goals rank fourth in NHL history.
Vanecek didn’t need to make a save in the shootout. Buffalo’s Tage Thompson and Dylan Cozens each hit the post, and Victor Olofsson scored.
Luukkonen made 16 saves in the third period, two against point-blank shots when the Capitals were on the power play. He made a spectacular split save on Conor Sheary’s rebound shot later in the period.
”Incredible save,” said Sheary, a former Sabre.
It was the sixth straight loss for Luukkonen since he won his NHL debut in April. The fifth goalie to play for Buffalo this season, Luukkonen has stopped 90 of 96 shots he’s faced in three starts since being called up from the minors.
”The efforts were outstanding,” Sabres coach Don Granato said. ”The wins will follow.”
Eller gave the Capitals an early lead, finishing a 2-on-1 feed from Sheary at 3:40 of the first. Hinostroza’s breakaway goal tied tied it up with 6:12 remaining in the first period, and Buffalo took a 2-1 lead 2:09 into the second period when Rasmus Asplund set up Butcher in the high slot for his first of the season.
Oshie, who had an assist on Eller’s goal, came close to extending the Capitals’ 1-0 lead in the first period, but officials waived off the goal because Oshie slid feet-first into Luukkonen before the puck went into the net.
Laviolette said he considered challenging whether Oshie was pushed into the crease.
”We looked at it a couple times,” Laviolette said. ”We just didn’t feel comfortable making the call, losing the goal, and then having them go on the power play.”
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
The NHL announced it made the wrong call in disallowing what would have been the Sabres’ tying goal in the final minute of a 2-1 loss to the New York Rangers. In a statement released by the league on Saturday, senior executive VP Colin Campbell said Olofsson’s goal with 57 seconds remaining Friday night should have stood because video replays could not ”definitively determine” whether the Sabres were offside entering the zone.
NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE NIGHT
Buffalo celebrated its local Indigenous culture by showing a series of videos and graphics on the scoreboard throughout the game, and having live music and traditional dance performances during intermissions. Former Sabres Cody McCormick, Jason Dawe and coach Ted Nolan were in attendance.
Capitals: D Nick Jensen left the game briefly in the second after crashing into the boards. . F Tom Wilson (upper body) did not travel to Buffalo and his status is day-to-day. Mike Sgarbossa entered the lineup to replace Wilson, who got hurt Friday.
Sabres: D Robert Hagg (undisclosed) returned from missing three games and assisted on Hinostroza’s goal with an outlet pass.
Capitals: At Chicago on Wednesday night.
Sabres: Open three-game road trip at Winnipeg on Tuesday night.
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