Washington, DC (SportsNetwork.com) – It’s been a tough week for the people of
Buffalo, but the Sabres gave their fans something to cheer about from their
snowbound homes on Saturday with a 2-1 win over the Washington Capitals.
Torrey Mitchell scored the winning goal in the third period for the Sabres,
who had not played since Tuesday when a lake-effect storm dumped more than
five feet of snow on the western New York region. Buffalo’s scheduled game
Friday against the New York Rangers was postponed in the aftermath.
Matt Moulson also scored for the Sabres, while Jhonas Enroth made 43 saves in
a brilliant effort. Buffalo has won three straight games for the first time
since late February.
“We’re playing like a confident team right now, and confident teams get
breaks, and those lead to wins,” said Enroth.
Matt Niskanen scored the lone goal for Washington, which had won its last two
games. Braden Holtby made 24 saves in defeat.
Niskanen tied it for the Capitals on a power play at 5:54 of the third when
his one-time blast from the center point deflected off Buffalo defenseman
Tyler Myers’ stick in the slot before going past Enroth.
The Sabres then went ahead with 7:42 remaining.
An aggressive forecheck by Mitchell took a pair of Washington players toward
the left corner and freed the puck for Brian Gionta, who skated toward the net
and had a shot from the doorstep stopped by Holtby. The rebound came out to
the left side of the crease for Mitchell, who swept it home for his third
Mitchell had limped off the ice only a few minutes earlier after he was hit
with the puck on the left boot by a hard dump-in from teammate Rasmus
Washington put forth a strong effort in the closing moments in an attempt to
tie the game and Enroth came up with a big pad save on a blast from Niskanen
with 1:19 remaining. He also stopped Alex Ovechkin in the final minute.
“I’m feeling pretty good,” said Enroth. “It was a strong effort from all the
guys on the team.”
The Sabres opened the scoring midway through the second period. Tyler Ennis
dug the puck off the left boards and skated to the top of the slot before
firing a shot that went wide of the net. The rebound caromed off the end
boards and went directly to Moulson for a backhand into the empty side of the
cage for his third goal.
Enroth made 11 saves in the first period and turned aside 20 shots in the
second. He also got some help from the post with 6:42 remaining in the middle
stanza on Ovechkin’s drive from the slot.
“We could get more bodies in front of the crease,” said Niskanen. “Their
goalie was good tonight, but I think he saw too many (shots). We’re doing a
lot of good things, but goalies in this league, if they see shots, they’re
going to stop them most of the time.”
Capitals defenseman Mike Green played just one shift in the third period and
did not return because of an upper body injury … The Sabres are off until
Wednesday when they return home to face Winnipeg … Buffalo improved to 3-0-1
in its last four against Washington. All three matchups last season went