Capitals Squeak by Sabres

WASHINGTON — Tom Wilson broke a tie with seven minutes left, Braden Holtby made 36 saves and the Washington Capitals beat the Buffalo Sabres 2-1 on Friday night.

Evgeny Kuznetsov started the winning play when he stole the puck from goalie Carter Hutton behind the net. The centre quickly fed Wilson just outside of the crease. Wilson has 10 goals in 15 games this season.

Holtby came up big in the final moments as the Capitals spent most of the final two minutes killing off a penalty.

Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby
WASHINGTON, DC – DECEMBER 11: Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby (70) warms up prior to the game against the Detroit Red Wings on December 11, 2018, at the Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Washington has won six of its last seven games and has beaten the Sabres twice at home in less than a week. Buffalo is 0-5-2 in its last seven games in Washington.

The first period was scoreless, and Buffalo could not convert on three good scoring chances in the first 1:30 of the second.

The Sabres then went on a power play 2:37 into the period, but Washington scored 13 seconds later with its second short-handed goal of the season. Nic Dowd flipped a puck in the air from the Capitals’ zone that sprung Chandler Stephenson on a breakaway, and he beat Hutton for his first career short-handed score.

Holtby made a big play late in the second period by coming far out of his net to beat Rasmus Ristolainen to a loose puck and prevent a breakaway.

Johan Larsson tied it for Buffalo at 9:01 of the third period, scoring from in close.

NOTES: Andre Burakovsky returned to the Washington lineup after missing the past four games as a healthy scratch but did not score a point. … Buffalo coach Phil Housley played two seasons for Washington. … Jack Eichel and Jeff Skinner of Buffalo had seven-game points streaks end.


Sabres: Host Anaheim on Saturday night.

Capitals: At Ottawa on Saturday night.

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Jeff Seidel, The Associated Press