Capitals

Wizards end road skid with win against Nuggets

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Wizards end road skid with win against Nuggets

DENVER (AP) Bradley Beal scored 23 points, John Wall blocked Ty Lawson's attempt for a tying layup in the final seconds, and the Washington Wizards hung on to beat the Denver Nuggets 112-108 on Friday night to snap an eight-game road losing streak.

Kevin Seraphin added 18 points and Wall and Trevor Ariza each added 14 points for the Wizards, who picked up just their second win away from home this season. They entered a league-worst 1-16 on the road.

Wall also had 12 assists. Nene had seven points for Washington in his return to Denver, where he played for nearly 10 years before being sent to Washington last March as part of a three-team trade.

Lawson scored 29 points to lead the Nuggets, who lost at home for just the third time in 18 games. He had made 10 consecutive shots from the floor before Wall rejected his layup in the final moments.

Corey Brewer and Andre Miller each added 17 points for the Nuggets, whose home-winning streak ended at five games.

Beal hit a 3-pointer to tie it at 58 with 8:07 left in the third quarter, but Lawson began finding the range, scoring 10 straight points for the Nuggets, including a pair of 3-pointers, to help Denver go in front 68-64.

Lawson made all eight of his third-quarter shots from the floor, including four 3-pointers. He finished his torrid quarter with a breakaway dunk, and Denver took an 87-80 lead into the final period.

Washington, though, opened the fourth with a big run of its own, scoring 12 unanswered points, including 3-pointers Ariza and Crawford and went in front 92-87 with 9:36 left to play.

The Nuggets closed to 100-97 on successive baskets by Miller and Lawson with 3:46 remaining. A putback by Seraphin put the Wizards up 108-104 with 28.9 seconds remaining. Miller answered with a layup, was fouled but couldn't convert the free throw.

Crawford was fouled by Kosta Koufos and made one of two free throws for a three-point Washington edge with 21.6 seconds left and Miller then scored on a layup with 13.6 seconds remaining.

The Nuggets fouled Beal with 8.6 seconds and he made one of two free throws for a 110-108 lead. Lawson drove the lane but his attempt for a tying layup in the final seconds was blocked by Wall, who added a pair of free throws with 2.7 seconds left to seal the victory.

JaVale McGee, who was acquired as part of the trade that sent Nene to Washington, followed a one-handed dunk off an alley-oop from Brewer with a putback dunk in the last 33.3 seconds of the second quarter, giving the Nuggets a 50-45 halftime lead.

NOTES: Washington's Crawford was back in action after missing four games because of a sore left ankle. He came off the bench and had 8 points in just over 17 minutes of play. ... Nuggets had won 24 in a row at the Pepsi Center when scoring 100 or more points before losing to the Wizards.

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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.