Photo: Patrick Smith
“I, for one, hope the Caps expend effort only on being the better hockey team. I don’t care about “the code” and I don’t care about sending any message other than we’re the better hockey team and we’re going to beat you.”
That was Pat’s message in the pregame, as Wednesday’s game looked poised to devolve into a fiasco after Monday’s theatrics.
But in the opening minutes, it was the Buffalo Sabres who decided that playing better hockey was the best way to win hockey game, with six unanswered shot attempts to start the game. The pressure led to the game’s opening tally, as Jack Eichel wiggled the stick on his XBOX controller before setting up Brian Gionta to beat Braden Holtby.
Soon after the Buffalo tally, the Caps put things back where they belonged, outshooting the Sabres 13-3 in the closing minutes of the frame.
In the second, the Capitals had extended zone time, a juicy power play, and plenty of great looks at the net, but Chad Johnson somehow kept them at bay. Then the Sabres netminder did something really dumb, reversing a pass to Justin Williams, who flipped the puck into the empty net. Towards the end of the frame, Braden Holtby couldn’t track the pop fly and Zemgus Girgensons whacked in the go-ahead tally.
After Nicklas Backstrom went down with an injury, Evgeny Kuznetsov returned to his old place on the TKO line. Just like that, Kuzy made magic happen from behind the net. Alex Ovechkin’s sealed the deal from in front. Tie game.
A few minutes later, Kuznetsov skated the puck in from the half way to hashmarks, allowing Marcus Johansson to deflect the game-winner. Andre Burakovsky added insurance before Ovi popped in an empty netter. This team is good. Really, really good. Caps beat Sabres 5-2!
#Caps Alex Ovechkin has become the 19th NHL player to record 4,000 career shots on goal (became official stat in 1967-68 season)
— Ben Raby (@BenRaby31) December 31, 2015
Tonight marked the 42nd time in Alex Ovechkin’s NHL career in which he registered 10 or more shots on goal in a game.
— CapitalsPR (@CapitalsPR) December 31, 2015
The Capitals have won nine games in a row. They are the best team in the National Hockey League. Sound familiar?
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