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Ovechkin scores twice as Caps beat Sabres

Dec 31, 2011 - 4:38 AM
Washington, DC (Sports Network) - Alex Ovechkin scored twice and Tomas Vokoun made 25 saves to lift the Washington Capitals to a 3-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres.

Nicklas Backstrom had a goal and an assist while Alexander Semin added two assists for the Capitals, who have won their past two.

"We've been playing hard and smart lately," said Washington head coach Dale Hunter. "We didn't give up much out there and playing good defense will win you games."

Jochen Hecht had the lone goal for the Sabres, who have dropped five of six. Ryan Miller gave up all three goals on 21 shots in the loss.

"I've never seen so many bouncing pucks go the wrong way," said Buffalo head coach Lindy Ruff. "But, if you don't score you don't win games, simple as that."

The only goal of the first period went to Washington at the 1:42 mark. On the power play, Ovechkin rushed into the Buffalo end down the right wing and attempted a cross-ice pass. The puck, though, hit off the stick of Christian Ehrhoff and got past Miller.

It was a 2-0 game 3:52 into the second when Roman Hamrlik sent a pass from the left wing to the right for Semin, who immediately sent it to the slot where Backstrom snapped it home.

Buffalo got one back with under five minutes to play in the second as Vanek held the puck in the slot before shooting it with Hecht pouncing on the rebound for his fourth goal of the year.

Ovechkin sealed the win with his 14th goal of the year with 5:50 to play in the game and Vokoun stopped all nine shots he faced in the frame.

Game Notes

Washington plays at Columbus on Saturday...Buffalo hosts Ottawa on Saturday...Backstrom's goal was the 100th of his career...Washington went 1- for-2 on the power play while Buffalo failed on its one chance.