Capitals

Capitals

The Capitals moved to 13-5-1 thanks to a 3-1 victory over the Sabres on Friday night. The victory was the team's fourth in five games. 

How it happened: The Capitals came out hot and peppered goalie Anders Nilssen early and often. The 6-5 goaltender denied Justin Williams off a beautiful pass from Nicklas Backstom, and turned away an excellent chance from Zach Sanford. But Daniel Winnik put back a second chance in front of the net at 5:08 of the first period to give the Capitals a lead. They would not relinquish it.

Marcus Johansson got on the board in the second — his first goal at Verizon Center this season — after a pass to the front of the net caromed off the skate of a Buffalo skater. Johansson buried his one-timer past Nilssen for the 2-0 lead. 

But the Capitals were unable to hold on to the shutout thanks to a Sam Reinhart goal at 9:58 of the third period. A late penalty by the Sabres for too many men on the ice lead to the Capitals' final tally, an easy finish for Brett Connolly in front of the net.

Out in front: The Capitals scored first and lead after the second period, the fourth time in the last five games they've entered the third period with the lead. It was also the seventh time this season and the fourth time in six games that the Capitals held their opponents scoreless in the first two periods. The Capitals entered are now 10-1-1 when leading after two periods. 

 

No Ovi, no problem: Two days after he registered his 16th career hat-trick, the Capitals' captain registered just three shots. Ovechkin had one legitimate scoring chance, but was held in-check throughout. But the contributions from elsewhere were more than enough to get the win.

At the Top: The Capitals' top line of Johannson, Backstrom and Williams drove the bus on offense. While the first line only registered one goal, Williams and Backstrom had a bevy of solid opportunities on net. They set the tone early and often. Williams still needs to get things going a bit, but the trio at the top set the pace for the rest of the team.

No shutout, but a happy birthday: After taking losses in his previous two starts, Philipp Grubauer recorded the win on his 25th birthday, stopping 31 of the Sabres' 32 shots. With his parents in the stands, Grubauer came up big on a Buffalo power play late in the third to keep the one-goal lead intact. 

What's Next? The Capitals have a quick turnaround and have to hit the road for a Saturday night game in Toronto against the Maple Leafs. After that, it's a long layoff before they return to the ice against the New York Islanders on Thursday, Dec. 1.