WASHINGTON (AP) _ Mike Grier put on a new jersey and had his best night of
Playing against the team that traded him the day before, Grier had a goal
and two assists Wednesday night and led the Buffalo Sabres to a 6-0 victory
over the Washington Capitals.
``It was a tough night. I'm glad it's over,'' Grier said. ``Once you get out
there and see the guys and the coaches on the bench, it's tough. I'm thankful
that I got to start and get it over with.''
Grier, who didn't have more than two points in any of his 67 games this
season with Washington, was dealt by the Capitals before Tuesday's NHL trade
deadline. He played Wednesday on Buffalo's second line with Jochen Hecht and
That trio combined for three goals, including Grier's backhand into the top
of the net that made it 3-0 at 11:39 of the second.
``We were joking in here about the goal he scored, that we haven't seen
those hands in years,'' Washington goalie Olaf Kolzig said. ``That's good for
him. It gets his nerves under control and his disappointment about being traded
over with. I guess there's no better way to get accepted by your teammates than
to have a game like he had.''
Martin Biron made 27 saves to earn his first shutout since Jan. 24, 2003,
and helped the Sabres move within five points of the New York Islanders in the
race for the Eastern Conference's final playoff spot.
Hecht scored twice, and Dmitri Kalinin, Adam Mair and Daniel Briere added
goals for Buffalo, which swept a season series from the Capitals for the first
time since the 1990-91 season (4-0).
A game like this was bound to catch up with the Capitals, who were anxious
during a salary-dumping trading spree that saw seven veterans find new teams
between Jan. 23 and the dealing deadline.
``Maybe this was a day where we'd been playing on edge for so many nights
that it's almost a relief,'' Washington coach Glen Hanlon said. ``Once the
relief was over, the embarrassment set in and we'll deal with that
Buffalo is responsible for the two largest victories over the Capitals this
season, also winning 7-1 at home on Dec. 31.
Kolzig, who stayed in Washington despite constant rumors that he would be
dealt, made 29 saves. He didn't play Monday against Ottawa because of a stomach
virus and to protect him from injury in case the Capitals decided to deal him.
Biron wasn't tested nearly as often by the Capitals, who managed just five
shots in the second period.
Kalinin gave the Sabres a 1-0 lead 4:27 in after taking Miroslav Satan's
centering pass from behind the net. Hecht scored his first goal 5:24 into the
second period, hustling to the net to knock a loose puck behind Kolzig.