Sabres felled by Capitals in a shootout

Buffalo's record drops to 1-3-1 with the 4-3 loss in Washington, D.C.
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By WGR 550 SportsRadio

The Buffalo Sabres were not able to topple a depleted Washington Capitals squad on Friday night, who were without forwards Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov, defenseman Dmitry Orlov and goaltender Ilya Samsonov due to breaking COVID-19 protocols earlier this week.

The blue and gold were losers, 4-3, by way of the shootout as they remain stuck on one win through five games of the 2020-21 season.

The Sabres got on the board first with 12:33 gone in the opening period, courtesy of former adversary-turned-asset, Eric Staal, scoring his first in a Buffalo sweater.

The 1-0 lead didn't last long, though, as Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom beat Linus Ullmark three-and-a-half minutes later for his third goal of the year.

The tie held through the rest of the first period, before things got crazy in the second.

From the 4:14 to the 13:49 marks, the teams traded goals twice over. Nic Dowd made it 2-1 for Washington before Sabres youngster Dylan Cozens recorded a career-first in the NHL.

A little over two minutes later, Capitals forward Jakub Vrana scored his third goal of the season, all of which coming against Buffalo.

That 3-2 Washington lead lasted all of 42 seconds, as first-year Sabres forward Riley Sheahan capped a wild frame of scoring with a backhand shot past Vitek Vanecek to knot the score at 3-3.

Like Staal and Cozens earlier, Sheahan's goal was also his first goal with the Sabres. The trio combined for a feat accomplished only once before in franchise history.

The wild second period was followed by a goalless third, and the two sides prepared for overtime. The Sabres had to begin the extra frame on a rollover penalty kill, as Rasmus Ristolainen took a holding minor with 9.2 seconds left in regulation.

Buffalo killed off the penalty, but were unable to find the game-winning tally in the remainder of overtime. Fortunately, neither was Washington, so on came a shootout.

The shootout in Washington was decided in four rounds, as the lone goal-scorer was Capitals defenseman John Carlson to lead off the fourth. Jack Eichel, Taylor Hall, Cozens and Sam Reinhart were all either stopped or hit the post against Vanecek, who has now beaten Buffalo twice this year.

GAME SUMMARY

Goal Summary:

First Period:
BUF: 12:33 - Eric Staal (1) (Victor Olofsson)
WAS: 16:18 - Nicklas Backstrom (3) (Tom Wilson, Brenden Dillon)

Second Period:
BUF: 10:43 - Dylan Cozens (1) (Unassisted); 13:49 - Riley Sheahan (1) (Jeff Skinner)
WAS: 4:14 - Nic Dowd (2) (Jakub Vrana, John Carlson); 13:07 - Jakub Vrana (3) (Zdeno Chara, T.J. Oshie)

Third Period:
BUF: NONE
WAS: NONE

Overtime:
BUF: NONE
WAS: NONE

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Penalty Summary:

First Period:
BUF: NONE
WAS: 17:03 - Conor Sheary (Slashing - 2 min.)

Second Period:
BUF: 10:49 - Tage Thompson (Hooking - 2 min.)
WAS: 10:49 - Jakub Vrana (Tripping - 2 min.)

Third Period:
BUF: 19:50 - Rasmus Ristolainen (Holding - 2 min.)
WAS: 4:53 - T.J. Oshie (Hooking - 2 min.)

Overtime:
BUF: NONE
WAS: NONE

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STATS OF THE GAME:

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Losi and Gangi Three Stars of the Game:
1.) Jakub Vrana - WAS
2.) John Carlson - WAS
3.) Dylan Cozens - BUF

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What's Next:
The blue and gold get back on the ice in Washington, D.C. on Sunday afternoon. To accommodate the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs playing in the AFC Championship Game, the start time of the game has been moved to 3 p.m. EST.

With WGR Sports Radio 550 covering pregame for the Bills on Sunday, coverage of the Sabres will begin at 2 p.m. EST with the Paul William Beltz Pregame Show with Brian Koziol over on our sister station, ESPN 1520.