Saturday night was the front end of a weekend back-to-back with the Buffalo Sabres and the New York Rangers tomorrow evening. It was reverse jersey night for the Capitals and Sabres, so the Capitals wore their red home jerseys with the Sabres wearing their white away jerseys.
First Period: Welcome Richards!
This was forward Mike Richard’s first game as a Washington Capital. Richards centered the fourth line with Zach Sill and Michael Latta. The game had a slower start with some nice chances for the Capitals, especially the second line. Sabre Phil Varone scored his first goal of the season at the 12:14 mark, assisted by Ramsus Ristolainen and Zach Bogosian. Mark Pysyk and Jack Eichel gave the Capitals two power play opportunities during the period, which were both unsuccessful. Tim Schaller also scored his first of the season, shorthanded, and the Sabres took a 2-0 lead into first intermission.
Second Period: Not the Caps night.
The Capitals go back on the penalty kill early in the second, forward Zach Sill for holding. Defenseman Nate Schmidt had a nice shorthanded chance but Sabres goaltender Chad Johnson denied him. Sabre Evander Kane extended the Sabres lead, 3-0, and that ends Braden Holtby’s night in the net. Backup goaltender Philipp Grubauer goes in relief. Cody Franson scored the Sabres’ fourth goal of the night and collected his fourth of the season. Capitals trailed the Sabres 4-0 after two periods.
Third Period: At least it wasn’t a shutout.
Forward Marcus Johansson, assisted by Jason Chimera, scored his 11th of the season and the Capitals were finally on the board. That assist was Chimera’s 200th NHL assist. The Capitals would go on the power play mid-way through the period but nothing went past Sabres goaltender Johnson. Tom Wilson and Marcus Foligno dropped the gloves at the 10:43 mark of the third period. Marcus Foligno after the fight raised his arms to the crowd, signaling he “won” the fight after taking multiple punches from Wilson. The Capitals fall to the Sabres 4-1. The Capitals’ five-game winning streak is snapped and goaltender Braden Holtby loses for the first time in regulation since November 10, 2015.
Even the best team in the league has off nights where nothing goes right. Get some rest and bounce back against the Rangers.
Practice: No morning skate on Sunday.
Game: Sunday at 5pm against the New York Rangers at Verizon Center.
Written by: Renee Garces
Photos by: Brittney Marcum