for this game

Connolly's late goal helps Sabres defeat Capitals

Dec 15, 2007 - 5:04 AM WASHINGTON (Ticker) -- Tim Connolly took a puck to the face, received a few stitches and came back to guide the Buffalo Sabres to victory.

Connolly scored with 3:42 remaining in the third period to snap a tie and lead the Sabres to a 5-3 triumph over the Washington Capitals on Friday.

Derek Roy, Maxim Afinogenov, Drew Stafford and Jochen Hecht also tallied for Buffalo, which has won six straight against Washington and 13 of the last 15 meetings between the teams.

The Sabres, who are 3-0-0 this season vs. the Capitals, also have won back-to-back games for the first time in December.

Late in the middle session, Connolly nearly was forced out of the game. But the center was attended to by team trainers in the locker room and proved resilient in the final period.

"I took a shot to the face. Eight stitches," Connolly said. "It was just a stinger. They stitched me up with about a minute left (in the second period), and I saw (Afinogenov's) goal on TV. I got on the bike between periods and got the heart rate going. I felt pretty good and just went back out there and went to work."

The painful moment for Connolly concerned Sabres coach Lindy Ruff.

"You're scared with any player that has a concussion history that gets a puck in the face," Ruff said. "First of all, I was hoping no broken bones. You get one there and a lot of times it can be eye socket or broken bones. Then your second thought is, it could be concussion-related again."

With the contest tied at 3-3, Jason Pominville took a shot that bounced off goaltender Olaf Kolzig. Following a scramble in front of the net, Connolly backhanded the puck while on his knees past Kolzig to give the Sabres a 4-3 lead.

"Finally, we got the puck on net and I was able to get the rebound and put it in," Connolly said.

"Tim knew what he was doing," Ruff added. "He had to do it quick or Olie would have gotten to it. We had some scrums where we should have scored, but Olie made a couple of big saves."

Hecht tallied an empty-netter with 14 seconds left to seal the win.

Washington took a 1-0 lead on Alex Ovechkin's 23rd goal of the season at 13:12 of the first period.

"We played well in the first period," said Ovechkin, who has at least one point in 16 of his last 17 games. "But in the third period, we played terrible. We didn't go to forecheck, we didn't hit anybody and we didn't shoot.

"I don't know, maybe we're tired or maybe something has happened, but we have to change. We've made some good strides, but we feel we could have won this game."

Buffalo answered when a miscue by Kolzig allowed Roy to score a shorthander with 63 seconds remaining in the session. Kolzig left the net to clear a puck, but he failed to get much on his attempt.

The puck floated directly to Roy, who scored his 14th goal of the season.

"I never go out and play the puck with one hand," Kolzig said. "It was just a rookie mistake and inexcusable with a minute left, especially with a one-goal lead and playing pretty well."

With the Sabres trailing, 2-1, in the second, Afinogenov - who had snuck behind the Capitals' defense - scored his fifth goal of the season on a breakaway with 78 seconds left in the period, tying the contest.

"(Afinogenov) was just back there," Washington defenseman Tom Poti said. "We were supposed to play three across. I kind of thought Michael (Nylander) had him. Michael thought I had him. It was just a miscommunication."

Stafford's wraparound off a rebound gave the Sabres their first lead just 19 seconds into the third.

"That's a routine save that I should make every time," Kolzig said.

Brooks Laich evened the game after receiving a fortunate bounce off the boards at 5:09. The puck hit an indentation and ricocheted right to Laich, who slapped it into the vacant net as Ryan Miller had already left his crease to play it.

"It was just a freak accident - a Christmas gift from the Verizon Center, I guess," Laich said of the lucky bounce that resulted in his sixth goal of the season.

Pominville had two assists and Miller stopped 20 shots for the Sabres, who have gone 4-4-0 following a season-high five-game winning streak.

Rookie Nicklas Backstrom scored a goal and set up another and Kolzig made 25 saves for Washington, which saw its three-game winning streak halted.

"The sense of urgency in our team and their team was amazing tonight," Capitals interim coach Bruce Boudreau said. "It's like (the Sabres) said - 'Well, they've got 29 points and if they win, they're one behind us, and we're too good for that.' And some of us were like, 'Well, we've won three in a row. We're pretty good.'

"You can't do that in the NHL and you can't do that against any good team. No matter what the record is, that was a pretty good team we played tonight."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    BUFFALO 1 1 3 5
    WASHINGTON 1 1 1 3 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: WAS - (PP) ALEXANDER OVECHKIN 23 (NICKLAS BACKSTROM, MICHAEL
    NYLANDER) 13:12
    BUF - (SH) DEREK ROY 12 (UNASSISTED) 18:57
    2ND PRD: WAS - NICKLAS BACKSTROM 5 (VIKTOR KOZLOV) 0:38
    BUF - MAXIM AFINOGENOV 5 (ANDREJ SEKERA,

    Dec 14 9:30 PM


  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    BUFFALO 1 1 3 5
    WASHINGTON 1 1 1 3 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: WAS - (PP) ALEXANDER OVECHKIN 23 (NICKLAS BACKSTROM, MICHAEL
    NYLANDER) 13:12
    BUF - (SH) DEREK ROY 12 (UNASSISTED) 18:57
    2ND PRD: WAS - NICKLAS BACKSTROM 5 (VIKTOR KOZLOV) 0:38
    BUF - MAXIM AFINOGENOV 5 (ANDREJ SEKERA,

    Sabres vs. CapitalsDec 14 9:30 PM
  • 15
    roots
    bouch Added 5 roots

    Sabres vs. CapitalsDec 14 9:25 PM


  • NHL
    BUFFALO 4
    WASHINGTON 3
    3RD PRD: BUF - TIM CONNOLLY 5 (JASON POMINVILLE, TONI LYDMAN) 16:18

    Sabres vs. CapitalsDec 14 9:19 PM


  • NHL
    BUFFALO 3
    WASHINGTON 3
    3RD PRD: WAS - BROOKS LAICH 6 (MILAN JURCINA, TOM POTI) 5:09

    Sabres vs. CapitalsDec 14 9:02 PM


  • NHL
    BUFFALO 3
    WASHINGTON 2
    3RD PRD: BUF - DREW STAFFORD 6 (BRIAN CAMPBELL, DEREK ROY) 0:19

    Sabres vs. CapitalsDec 14 8:55 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    BUFFALO 1 1 2
    WASHINGTON 1 1 2 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: WAS - (PP) ALEXANDER OVECHKIN 23 (NICKLAS BACKSTROM, MICHAEL
    NYLANDER) 13:12
    BUF - (SH) DEREK ROY 12 (UNASSISTED) 18:57
    2ND PRD: WAS - NICKLAS BACKSTROM 5 (VIKTOR KOZLOV) 0:38
    BUF - MAXIM AFINOGENOV 5 (AN

    Dec 14 8:39 PM


  • NHL
    BUFFALO 2
    WASHINGTON 2
    2ND PRD: BUF - MAXIM AFINOGENOV 5 (ANDREJ SEKERA, PAUL GAUSTAD) 18:42

    Sabres vs. CapitalsDec 14 8:39 PM


  • NHL
    BUFFALO 1
    WASHINGTON 2
    2ND PRD: WAS - NICKLAS BACKSTROM 5 (VIKTOR KOZLOV) 0:38

    Sabres vs. CapitalsDec 14 8:04 PM
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    mosskidd92 Added 5 roots

    Sabres vs. CapitalsDec 14 7:45 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    BUFFALO 1 1
    WASHINGTON 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: WAS - (PP) ALEXANDER OVECHKIN 23 (NICKLAS BACKSTROM, MICHAEL
    NYLANDER) 13:12
    BUF - (SH) DEREK ROY 12 (UNASSISTED) 18:57
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    BUF 10

    Dec 14 7:45 PM


  • NHL
    BUFFALO 1
    WASHINGTON 1
    1ST PRD: BUF - (SH) DEREK ROY 12 (UNASSISTED) 18:57

    Sabres vs. CapitalsDec 14 7:44 PM


  • NHL
    BUFFALO 0
    WASHINGTON 1
    1ST PRD: WAS - (PP) ALEXANDER OVECHKIN 23 (NICKLAS BACKSTROM, MICHAEL
    NYLANDER) 13:12

    Sabres vs. CapitalsDec 14 7:35 PM
  • 5
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    gscale Added 5 roots

    Sabres vs. CapitalsDec 11 3:43 PM