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Capitals vs. Sabres Recap: Caps Bounced by Buffalo in Second Half of Back-to-Back

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Robin Lehner and the Sabres beat Washington 3 to 1 in Buffalo.

NHL: Washington Capitals at Buffalo Sabres Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

The Capitals traveled to Buffalo late Monday night in preparation for squaring off against the Sabres at KeyBank Center Tuesday. And the Sabres took advantage of an injured and weary Washington club, dropping the Capitals 3 to 1.

Here's Tuesday night's Plus/Minus:

Plus: I’ve mentioned Devante Smith-Pelly more often in my recaps than one could expect, especially lately, and that bodes really well for this team moving forward.

Minus: The Sabres outshot Washington 15 to 4 through the opening twenty minutes.

Eight more notes on the game.

  1. The Capitals were outplayed early by Phil Housley’s team as they controlled long periods of play in the first. Strong play from Philipp Grubauer kept the home team off the scoreboard through the opening twenty minutes.
  2. Early in the second period Evander Kane put Buffalo up by tallying on their eighteenth shot of the contest. Jack Eichel bested Brooks Orpik below Washington’s goal line and fed Kane for his eighth of the season.
  3. Tom Wilson ran over Sam Reinhart in the Sabres’ defensive zone and danced with Jake McCabe as a result. Despite McCabe’s insistence on fighting it was Wilson winning the war, but neither Pierre Lambert nor Tom Kowal tagged McCabe for instigating.
  4. A little more than five minutes later Smith-Pelly connected with Alex Ovechkin with a sweet pass into the slot and Ovechkin buried a quick shot beyond the reach of Robin Lehner’s glove.
  5. Early in the frame once again, this time the third, Benoit Pouliot took all the space Orpik was giving him in the slot and rifled a lethal shot past Holtby’s left ear to put the Sabres ahead once again.
  6. And with twenty seconds left and Grubauer on the bench Kane tallied an empty net goal to deny Washington any hope of a comeback.
  7. Washington failed to capitalize on another strong performance from Grubauer (29 saves), who falls to 0 for 4 in the young season.
  8. Aaron Ness skated in Madison Bowey’s spot to relieve the most recent addition to Washington's injured reserve. Ness returned to the lineup for the first time since October 29th in Calgary and skated 15:00.