Capitals

Timberwolves star Love re-fractures right hand

Timberwolves star Love re-fractures right hand

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) The injury-riddled Minnesota Timberwolves lost star forward Kevin Love to a broken right hand for the second time this season when an MRI confirmed the injury on Saturday.

Love re-fractured his third metacarpal in the hand, and the team said it expects to know more about a timetable for his return after he is examined by a hand specialist in New York.

The original injury, which occurred on Oct. 17, sidelined Love for the first three weeks of the season and has hampered his shooting. He re-injured the hand during the third quarter Thursday night at Denver.

``He's a huge part of what we were hoping to do and now we have to find other ways to do it,'' coach Rick Adelman said before Saturday night's game against Portland. ``Even in the game in Denver, people talk about his shooting, but he had 13 rebounds at halftime and 13 points. That's two big numbers. We have to find a way to manufacture those numbers and find a different way to play.''

Love is averaging a team-best 18.3 points and 14.0 rebounds in 18 games.

It's the latest in a long list of key injuries for the Wolves during the first half of the season. Ricky Rubio, who was scratched for Saturday night's game with back spasms, missed the first 20 games of the season while he continued his recovery from knee surgery. Brandon Roy, Malcolm Lee and Chase Budinger are out with knee injuries, and Josh Howard was waived in late December after a season-ending knee injury.

``I've never been through anything like this,'' Adelman said. ``You start out with Ricky from the very beginning, hoping to get him back and then it's just been one thing after the other.''

Rubio also missed the previous three games with back spasms. The Timberwolves are being cautious with dynamic point guard, who started experiencing back problems not long after he returned after missing nine months due to the knee injury. Adelman has said Rubio might be overcompensating for his recovering knee, which could lead to other issues.

``We're 15-14 and I'm trying to figure out how we were able to get there,'' Adelman said. ``This team does have resolve about them.''

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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.