for this game

Ovechkin continues to sizzle as Capitals bounce Sabres

Dec 27, 2008 - 4:56 AM WASHINGTON (Ticker) -- Alex Ovechkin was denied once by the referees, but Buffalo Sabres netminder Patrick Lalime failed to do the same in a key spot.

Ovechkin continued his torrid play of late with his team-leading 23rd goal of the season after having one waived off as the Washington Capitals skated to a 3-2 victory over the Sabres on Friday.

The defending Hart Trophy winner, who has scored nine times in his last eight contests, tallied after Viktor Kozlov and Boyd Gordon netted goals for the Capitals, who have won seven of their last eight.

"This was a determination goal. He got it," Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said. "He made a move. They were checking him. He was losing the puck. He was just determined. It's like, 'They took one away; they're not going to take another one away.'"

Thomas Vanek netted a power-play goal and Maxim Afinogenov scored with 1:49 remaining in the third period, but the Sabres lost their third consecutive game.

"They capitalized on our mistakes -- the Ovechkin goal especially," Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said. "Other than that, the chances were pretty well even. We won the battle of special teams, but we didn't win the battle at even strength."

Ovechkin appeared to give the Capitals a 2-0 lead late in the second, but a goalie interference call against teammate Brooks Laich negated it.

However, Ovechkin's tally 8:27 into the third ballooned the Capitals' advantage to 3-1. The Russian star pushed the puck through defenseman Henrik Tallinder's legs just inside the blue line, got around him and fired a shot past Lalime while tumbling to the ice.

"It was a very cool goal. It happens sometimes," Ovechkin said. "You always want to do some crazy things. It was a great goal, and I'm happy it happened to me. It was nice. It was pretty cool."

The highlight-reel goal proved to be an important one since Afinogenov later notched his second goal of the season.

"I just shoveled it up to (Ovechkin), and he made a heck of a play," said Capitals defenseman Bryan Helmer, who was credited with the assist. "That's why he's the best in the league. He never gives up on the puck, and the next thing you know, it's in the back of the net."

In a contest during which Washington never trailed, Kozlov opened the scoring with 2:14 left in the second and Gordon doubled the lead 1:58 into the following session.

Vanek then halved the deficit four minutes later with his 25th goal of the season, one away from tying Philadelphia's Jeff Carter for the NHL lead.

Jose Theodore stopped 22 shots for Washington, which outshot Buffalo, 34-24, overall and by a 15-8 margin in the scoreless first period en route to improving to an Eastern Conference-best 14-1-1 at home.

"You have to be ready in every situation. We did a good job," Theodore said. "Right now it's been working for us. We won the last game in New York ... that's what I was trying to remember coming into this game. I just tried to do the same thing."

Starting in place of Ryan Miller for the first time in five contests, Lalime made 31 saves for the Sabres, whose three latest setbacks have all come by one goal.

Buffalo had won its last three trips to the Verizon Center, allowing just four total goals in those games.

"I thought the second and third, we played well, we got a couple of pucks at the net," Sabres center Derek Roy said. "A couple of bounces didn't go our way and unfortunately, they got a tipped goal. It was a tough game for us."






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    Sabres 2, Capitals 3  FinalDec 27 7:24 AM
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  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    BUFFALO 0 0 2 2
    WASHINGTON 0 1 2 3 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: WAS - VIKTOR KOZLOV 9 (NICKLAS BACKSTROM, BRYAN HELMER)
    17:46
    3RD PRD: WAS - DONALD BRASHEAR 2 (MILAN JURCINA, BOYD GORDON) 1:58
    BUF - (PP) THOMAS VANEK 25 (DREW STAFFORD, JAROSLAV SPACEK)
    6:13
    WAS - A

    Dec 26 9:24 PM


  • NHL
    BUFFALO 2
    WASHINGTON 3
    3RD PRD: BUF - MAXIM AFINOGENOV 2 (TONI LYDMAN, ALES KOTALIK) 18:11

    Sabres 2, Capitals 3  3rd - 1:49Dec 26 9:20 PM
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    Sabres 2, Capitals 3  3rd - 1:49Dec 26 9:20 PM


  • NHL
    BUFFALO 1
    WASHINGTON 3
    3RD PRD: WAS - ALEX OVECHKIN 23 (BRYAN HELMER) 8:27

    Sabres 1, Capitals 3  3rd - 11:33Dec 26 9:06 PM


  • NHL
    BUFFALO 1
    WASHINGTON 2
    3RD PRD: BUF - (PP) THOMAS VANEK 25 (DREW STAFFORD, JAROSLAV SPACEK)
    6:13

    Sabres 1, Capitals 2  3rd - 13:47Dec 26 8:59 PM


  • NHL
    BUFFALO 0
    WASHINGTON 2
    3RD PRD: WAS - DONALD BRASHEAR 2 (MILAN JURCINA, BOYD GORDON) 1:58

    Sabres 0, Capitals 2  3rd - 18:02Dec 26 8:53 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    BUFFALO 0 0 0
    WASHINGTON 0 1 1 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: WAS - VIKTOR KOZLOV 9 (NICKLAS BACKSTROM, BRYAN HELMER)
    17:46
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    BUF 8 7 15
    WAS 15 8 23
    GOALIES: BU

    Dec 26 8:33 PM


  • NHL
    BUFFALO 0
    WASHINGTON 1
    2ND PRD: WAS - VIKTOR KOZLOV 9 (NICKLAS BACKSTROM, BRYAN HELMER) 17:46

    Sabres 0, Capitals 1  2nd - 2:14Dec 26 8:28 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    BUFFALO 0 0
    WASHINGTON 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    BUF 8 8
    WAS 15 15
    GOALIES: BUF - PATRICK LALIME
    WAS - JOSE THEODORE

    Dec 26 7:42 PM
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