WASHINGTON — Jakub Vrana scored twice, Tom Wilson had a goal and two assists and the Washington Capitals beat the Buffalo Sabres 6-1 on Friday night in a matchup of division leaders.
Brendan Leipsic added his first goal for his new team and assisted Chandler Stephenson as Washington scored four times in the first 11 minutes of the first period for the first time since March 2013. T.J. Oshie also scored, and Braden Holtby made 29 saves in the victory.
Michal Kempny added three assists and Travis Boyd had two for the Metropolitan Division-leading Capitals, who won their third straight and improved to 7-0-1 in their last eight games.
Henri Jokiharju scored his first NHL goal for the Sabres, who lost back-to-back games for the first time this season and entered Friday’s game tied with Boston atop the Atlantic Division.
Linus Ullmark stopped 28 shots for Buffalo. He allowed more than four goals for the first time in six starts this season.
The Capitals opened the scoring with a pair of goals on the break 42 seconds apart.
Vrana made it 1-0 when he reached Wilson’s pass, then scored between Ullmark’s pads. Then on a three-man rush, Leipsic and Boyd connected to set up Stephenson, who got Ullmark to commit, and scored on a backhander from close range with 13:01 left in the first.
The onslaught continued with Vrana scoring his second, taking a cross-ice pass from Kempny and beating Ullmark inside the right post. It was 4-0 with 9:16 left in the period on another one-timer, this time from Leipsic after Boyd skated behind the net and sent feed in front.
Jokiharju scored midway through the second, on a shot that deflected off the back of Capitals defender John Carlson and over Holtby on its way across the goal line. But Washington got a good bounce not long after, when Wilson redirected Kempny’s shot from just inside the blue line past Ullmark to make it 5-1.
Oshie added his goal on Kempny’s third assist in the third period.
Carlson, who was named the NHL’s First Star for October, is without a point in two of his last three games for the first time this season. … Although Sabres D Brandon Mountour is expected to return soon from a preseason hand injury, he remained inactive Friday. … Capitals C Lars Eller became the second Danish-born NHL player to reach 700 games. Detroit’s Frans Nielsen (847) was the first. … The Sabres outshot the Capitals 16-11 in the first period.
Sabres: Host the New York Islanders on Saturday
Capitals: Host Calgary on Sunday.
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Ian Quillen, The Associated Press