Alex Ovechkin finally gets off the schneid. (Clydeorama)
The Washington Capitals became the final team in the National Hockey League to win a game Sunday afternoon, defeating the Buffalo Sabres by a 3-2 margin inside Verizon Center. Getting goals from Joel Ward, John Erskine, and Alex Ovechkin, the Caps came back from an early 1-0 hole by scoring three unanswered goals. The Sabres drew within one late, but 22 saves, many of them big, from Michal Neuvirth kept them at bay and won Adam Oates his first game as a head coach.
As has been a common thread in their games so far, the Capitals were awarded the first power play of the evening after less than a minute, but another futile effort with the man advantage kept Washington from opening the scoring for the first time this season. The next eight minutes were characterized by chances for both teams until the Sabres capitalized just past the ten-minute mark. Taking advantage of another John Carlson turnover in the neutral zone, Tyler Ennis streaked in and shoved a backhander through Michal Neuvirth on the ice surface. Desperate to gain some footing after another bad start, the Capitals came back hard and almost tied the game three minutes later when Nicklas Backstrom rang the iron from the top of the left circle.
Washington would get their equalizer soon after as Joel Ward cleaned up a rebound in front following a dominant shift from his line. Washington continued to buzz around Ryan Miller’s net after the goal, but lost that momentum when John Erskine took a tripping call late in the period with 30 seconds left. They killed off the initial 30 seconds on the minor before the period ended.