Skip to main content
game recap

Capitals score four in first period, ease past Sabres

Vrana has two goals, Wilson, Kempny get three points each for Washington

by Harvey Valentine / NHL.com Independent Correspondent

Vrana scores on breakaway

BUF@WSH: Vrana goes five-hole on breakaway

Jakub Vrana rips a shot through the pads of Linus Ullmark on a breakaway to give the Capitals a 1-0 lead in the 1st period

  • 00:54 •

WASHINGTON -- Jakub Vrana scored two of the Washington Capitals' four first-period goals in a 6-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres at Capital One Arena on Friday, their seventh victory in eight games.

Tom Wilson had a goal and two assists, Michal Kempny had three assists, and Brendan Leipsic had a goal and an assist for Washington (10-2-3), which extended its point streak to eight games (7-0-1).

Chandler Stephenson and T.J. Oshie scored, and Braden Holtby made 29 saves for the Capitals.

 

[WATCH: All Sabres vs. Capitals highlights]

 

"It was a good four-line game for us," Capitals coach Todd Reirden said. "Got contributions from a lot of different people. I thought when we did have breakdowns, Braden was really solid tonight, so that allowed us to take advantage of the opportunities we had in the opposite direction."

Henri Jokiharju scored, and Linus Ullmark made 28 saves for Buffalo (9-3-2), which is 1-2-1 in its past four games.

"I just didn't think we were good enough, especially against a team like that," Sabres captain Jack Eichel said. "They're one of the best teams in the League for a reason, and I thought we were just sloppy with the puck. I thought we just gave them a lot of chances that we shouldn't have, and they capitalized."

Video: BUF@WSH: Vrana scores after Kempny threads the needle

The Capitals scored four goals on their first seven shots.

Wilson's backhand pass sent Vrana in on a breakaway to make it 1-0 at 6:17 of the first period.

The Capitals soon had a 4-on-1 rush off a turnover. Leipsic passed across to Travis Boyd, who centered the puck to Stephenson for a backhand to make it 2-0 at 6:59.

"They were excellent," Reirden said. "I really like a lot of things from that [fourth] line. The speed, the execution level on some of those plays was high end, and still they did a decent job in the defensive zone as well."

Video: BUF@WSH: Wilson deflects shot between his legs

Vrana's one-timer from the right face-off circle made it 3-0 at 9:29.

"I just tried to find an empty spot there around the net, and it was a great pass by [Kempny], and I just tried to finish it off," Vrana said.

Boyd helped make it 4-0 when he skated behind Ullmark and sent a pass through the crease for Leipsic, who scored on a one-timer at 10:44.

The Sabres had several odd-man rushes late in the period but couldn't convert.

"We got away from the game, the simple game, and the decisions we needed to make with the puck," Buffalo coach Ralph Krueger said. "We gave them really everything they got in the first period, and we had some excellent opportunities that we didn't capitalize on."

Jokiharju's first NHL goal cut it to 4-1 at 10:40 of the second period when his shot from the left point deflected in off Washington defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler.

"Obviously, in that moment that was a feeling of happiness and it was fun to score, but after this kind of game, it's not that big [of a] memory right now, but probably a little bit later," Jokiharju said.

Video: BUF@WSH: Jokiharju scores first career NHL goal

Wilson deflected Kempny's shot with 3:07 left in the period to make it 5-1.

"It's obviously nice to get up early," Wilson said. "Those games can be a little tough for the rest of the night, but I thought we did a good job for the most part just keeping our skating and keeping the momentum.

Oshie tipped in a pass from Kempny at 13:43 of the third period for the 6-1 final.

Video: Clutch Performance: Jakub Vrana scores two goals

 

They said it

"The thing you take from this is we've got a long way to go and I just think our game's been just slipping a little bit. We've been playing some pretty good hockey most of the time, maybe getting away with 10 minutes here and there, and tonight, obviously, we didn't. So I think we've just got to get back to basics." -- Sabres forward Kyle Okposo

"I think we're very confident out there right now. We have lots of energy, especially coming back from that (4-0-1) road trip. Everybody's working really hard, blocking shots and playing good defensively, and that creates offense." -- Capitals forward Jakub Vrana

 

Need to know

The Sabres had scored two or more goals in each of their first 13 games. … Eichel played his 300th NHL game. … Washington defenseman John Carlson, who scored 23 points (seven goals, 16 assists) in 14 games, was named the NHL's First Star for October. He had no points in 23:33 of ice time Friday. ... Capitals forward Eller played his 700th NHL game. … Kempny has eight points (three goals, five assists) in seven games this season.

 

What's next

Sabres: Host the New York Islanders on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; MSG-B, MSG+, NHL.TV)

Capitals: Host the Calgary Flames on Sunday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN, NBCSWA, NHL.TV)

Video: Capitals ride fast start to win against Sabres

View More

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.