Post-game analysis of the Capitals’ 2-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres Monday night at Niagara Arena:
How it happened: Alex Ovechkin opened the scoring 19 seconds into the second period with his team-high 18th goal of the season on a nice Nicklas Backstrom pass from behind the net. Jay Beagle made it 2-0 with his sixth goal of the season at the 12:55 mark when a shot by Tom Wilson caromed wide of the net and banked right to Beagle in the slot. Caps goalie Braden Holtby did the rest, stopping all 31 shots he faced to earn his second shutout of the season and 22nd of his career.
What it means: The Caps (27-6-2, 56 points) have rung up eight straight wins, all of them in regulation, to move within one point of the NHL-leading Dallas Stars (27-7-3, 57 points), who have played two more games.
Scary moment: With 4:10 remaining in regulation Buffalo forward Tyler Ennis crashed the net with the puck lying at the feet of Holtby and made helmet-to-helmet contact with the Caps’ netminder. After the play, Holtby removed his mask and took a knee but remained in the game and finished off the shutout with an incredible glove save on Evander Kane. Holtby (23-4-1) stopped Jack Eichel four times.
Pay back for Deslauriers?: With 8:09 gone in the second period, Sabres left wing Nicolas Deslauriers shouldered Caps right wing Justin Williams hard into the boards, clipping him in the face with his stick on Williams’ way to the ice.
While Williams’ face was getting repaired in the trainer’s room, Deslauriers took his next shift at 10:46 and 3 seconds later Michael Latta defended Williams by fighting Deslauriers. Latta got the worst of the fight, taking a pair of hard rights to the head and did not return to the game with an upper body injury.
Deslauriers celebrated wildly on the ice and in the penalty box and likely will be watched closely by Tom Wilson when the two teams meet again at Verizon Center on Wednesday night.
Statistically speaking: The Caps are now 13-0-0 when leading after one period and 19-0-0 when leading after two periods. They are also 22-0-5 whenever Jay Beagle scores a goal in his career.