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With late goal U.S. gets tie with Russia

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With late goal U.S. gets tie with Russia

By The Associated Press

Mix Diskerud scored his first international goal in the third minute of injury time, giving the United States a 2-2 tie against Russia on Wednesday in an exhibition game at Krasnodar.

Michael Bradley, who scored in the 76th minute, sent a long ball into the penalty area toward Terrence Boyd, who was battling defender Sergei Ignashevich. The ball rebounded off Ignashevich to Diskerud, who had entered in the 87th minute. He bounced a 20-yard, right-footed shot in off a hand of goalkeeper Vladimir Gabulov.

The 22-year-old, whose mother is from Arizona and who grew up in Norway, was playing just his third game for the U.S. He was a member of the American Olympic team that failed to qualify for the London Games.

Fedor Smolov, making his Russian national team debut, gave the hosts the lead in the ninth minute following a giveaway by Danny Williams. Bradley tied it on a 19-yard volley, his 11th international goal.

Roman Shirokov put Russia back ahead 2-1 when he converted a penalty kick in the 84th minute after a foul by Clarence Goodson, who pushed over Artem Dzyuba in front of goalkeeper Tim Howard following a free kick.

The 27th-ranked United States, missing regulars Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan and Steve Cherundolo, are preparing for the final round of qualifying next year for the 2014 World Cup. They finished the year at 9-2-3 with a .750 winning percentage that tied their best, set in 2005.

The ninth-ranked Russians won their fifth straight match, improving to 5-0-1 since former England coach Fabio Capello took over last summer.

Jozy Altidore started for the U.S. after he was dropped from the roster for last month's World Cup qualifiers following poor performances against Jamaica in September, and Timmy Chandler started at right back. Chandler had not played for the Americans since last November, uncertain whether he wanted to commit to the U.S. program.

Russia went ahead early after the U.S. was given a free kick in its own half. Williams mis-hit the ball as Altidore crossed in front of him. Alexander Kerzhakov started a quick break and passed to Smolov, whose right-footed shot from 15 yards went under Howard's left arm. Smolov fell to the ground, injured, and was replaced by Maxim Gregoriev two minutes later.

U.S. captain Carlos Bocanegra left in the 18th minute with what the team said was an injured hamstring. He was replaced by Goodson, who paired with Geoff Cameron in central defense.

Howard made a fine double save in the 66th, batting away an open shot by Renat Yanbaev, then parrying Vasily Berezutskiy's shot over the crossbar.

Four minutes later, Fabian Johnson made a fine run up the middle of the field and passed to an open Altidore, who failed to control the ball.

Bradley scored after Maurice Edu passed to Juan Agudelo in the penalty area, and Agudelo headed the ball back to an open Bradley for a right-footed shot that clanked in off a post.

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3 reasons why the Caps beat the Sabres

3 reasons why the Caps beat the Sabres

You may think this was an ugly four-game road trip for the Caps, but with a 3-2 win in Buffalo on Monday, Washington managed to earn five out of a possible eight points.

Here is why the Caps beat the Sabres and managed to save the road swing.

A missed high-stick (maybe) from Ovechkin

Ovechkin scored the first goal of the game in the second period as he deflected a high-shot from Christian Djoos down past goalie Chad Johnson. But did the deflection come on a high stick? The play was reviewed and the goal was ultimately upheld. According to the NHL, it was determined that "video review supported the Referee's call on the ice that Alex Ovechkin's stick was at or below the height of the crossbar when he tipped the puck into the Buffalo net."

NBC Sports Washington analyst Alan May broke the play down during the second intermission and made his case for why the NHL actually got the call wrong.

Was that a high stick? I don't know. As compelling an argument as May made, it still looks inconclusive which means the review made the right call. What surprises me is that the referee did not disallow the goal on the initial call.

Whether the review is truly inconclusive or flat out wrong, Washington was fortunate to walk away from this sequence with the goal.

MORE CAPITALS: BIZARRE SEQUENCE LEADS TO CAPS SCORING AND GETTING PENALIZED AT THE SAME TIME

A centimeter of ice

Hockey is a game of inches and it took less than an inch to put Washington up 2-0. When an Evgeny Kuznetsov shot hit off the boards and bounced back to the front of the net, it sparked a scrum next to goalie Chad Johnson. Eventually, John Carlson was able to get a swipe on the puck sending it trickling to the goal line, but Kyle Okposo was there waiting and appeared to kick it out to safety just before it crossed. A review triggered by the Situation Room, however, revealed that the puck had just barely managed to cross the goal line before Okposo got to it.

Here's the view the NHL released after the review:

Philipp Grubauer's third period

After dominating the first 40 minutes of the game and taking a 2-0 lead, Buffalo predictably made a late push in the third period with two goals to pull within one. Washington outshot the Sabres in the first and second periods, but Buffalo reversed that trend in a big way in the third as they outshot the Caps 17-6. Grubauer turned aside 15 of those shots and was impressive after barely being tested in the first two periods.

RELATED: CHECK OUT THE 3 STARS OF THE GAME FROM CAPS-SABRE

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3 stars of the game: Caps knock out the punchless Sabres

3 stars of the game: Caps knock out the punchless Sabres

Coming off an ugly 7-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, a Buffalo Sabres team missing star Jack Eichel was just what the doctor ordered for the Caps to get back on track. Washington dominated the first two periods and then survived a late surge from Buffalo for the 3-2 win.

After battling to a scoreless first, Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson spotted Washington a 2-0 lead in the second. They then held on in the third period as Buffalo began to tilt the ice in their favor, with Evgeny Kuznetsov scoring the empty-netter to put this game out of reach. Evander Kane would pull Buffalo within one, but with only three seconds left it was too little, too late.

Here are the three stars of the game:

1. Alex Ovechkin: Ovechkin opened up the scoring in the second period as he deflected down an innocent shot from Christian Djoos past Chad Johnson.

Ovechkin also set a physical tone as he battled with defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen all game long. After taking a high elbow from Ristolainen early in the game Ovechkin skated up to Ristolainen prior to the faceoff on his next shift and let him know that it was on. 

2. John Carlson: Carlson had a hand in both of Washington's first two goals. He recorded a secondary assist on Ovechkin's goal as he made a blue line pass to Djoos which Djoos fired on net and Ovechkin deflected. Carlson then managed to hit the puck past the goal line in a scrum next to Johnson. It looked initially like Kyle Okposo had managed to kick out the puck just before it crossed, but Carlson was awarded the goal as a review showed the puck had completely crossed the line.

3. Philipp Grubauer: A Sabres team that ranks last in the NHL in scoring and that was also without its leading scorer did not test Grubauer much in the first two periods. Facing a 2-0 deficit, however, Buffalo made a third period push to try to tie the game, but Grubauer was up to the task as he turned aside 15 of the 17 shots he faced in the final 20 minutes. He finished with 32 total saves on the night.