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game recap

Reinhart's hat trick powers Sabres past Capitals

Buffalo ends four-game losing streak; Ovechkin scores No. 44 for Washington

by Heather Engel / NHL.com Correspondent

Reinhart completes hat trick

WSH@BUF: Reinhart finishes hat trick on empty net

Sam Reinhart bags an empty-net goal from deep in his own zone to complete his third career hat trick and pad the Sabres' lead in the 3rd

  • 00:57 •

BUFFALO -- Sam Reinhart scored a hat trick, and the Buffalo Sabres ended their four-game losing streak with a 5-2 win against the Washington Capitals at KeyBank Center on Saturday.

"You don't want to have to rally around a loss, but the position we were in and still are in, it took that effort against a team like Tampa," Reinhart said of Buffalo's previous game, a 2-1 shootout loss to the NHL-leading Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday. "It was really important for us to follow it up against another one of the best teams."

 

[WATCH: All Capitals vs. Sabres highlights]

 

Jason Pominville and Rasmus Dahlin scored, and Jack Eichel had two assists for Buffalo (29-24-8), which trails the Carolina Hurricanes by six points for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference. Carter Hutton made 31 saves.

Alex Ovechkin and Andre Burakovsky scored, and Braden Holtby made 33 saves for Washington (34-21-7), which is four points behind the New York Islanders for first place in the Metropolitan Division.

Video: Enterprise Hat Trick: Reinhart nets three vs. Caps

"Everyone has a responsibility and a role on our team from our very top guy to anyone who plays on our fourth line," Capitals coach Todd Reirden said. "We didn't have enough players that played to the best of their ability tonight, and things didn't go our way."

Pominville opened the scoring when he took a no-look backhand pass from Jeff Skinner in the low slot and beat Holtby to make it 1-0 at 3:40 of the first period.

Reinhart made it 2-0 at 12:51. Evan Rodrigues poked a loose puck over to Reinhart, who beat Holtby to the stick side from the right face-off circle.

Ovechkin extended his goal streak to five games at 2:28 of the second period, beating Hutton on a breakaway from the red line to cut Buffalo's lead to 2-1. It was Ovechkin's NHL-leading 44th goal.

Video: WSH@BUF: Dahlin one-times PPG from the circle

Dahlin put the Sabres back up by two on the power play at 19:29 of the second period. Eichel sent a cross-ice, one-touch pass to Dahlin in the right circle, where he beat Holtby to extend Buffalo's lead to 3-1.

"We just went back to work. We didn't let it affect us," Sabres coach Phil Housley said. "We know that's a very dangerous team. I thought at times we let guys get to the open, but for the most part, we were pretty solid in our checking detail. That's why we were able to get that go-ahead goal when we needed it and get that two-goal cushion."

The Sabres got a scare 4:42 into the second period when Skinner, their leading goal-scorer (36), had to be helped off the ice after he was tripped by Carl Hagelin. But Skinner returned for the start of the third period.

"Obviously, that's huge for us, seeing him come back. That's a big lift for our group," Hutton said.

Burakovsky got Capitals to within 3-2 when he tipped in Christian Djoos' point shot at 4:16 of the third period. But Reinhart scored his second of the game at 5:43, deflecting Matt Hunwick's shot from the blue line, to make it 4-2. He completed his hat trick with an empty-net goal at 19:04 for the 5-2 final.

Video: WSH@BUF: Hutton robs Eller from point-blank range

"Even though I felt we were able to battle back from (trailing by two goals), the 4-2 goal was a bit of a kick in the face after getting close with that one early in the third," Washington forward Lars Eller said. "Then it was just too steep a mountain for us to climb."

 

They said it

"I think Braden, his track record speaks for itself in terms of what he's been able to do in this league. He's a huge part of our team's success. I don't think we did a great job insulating him tonight at all." -- Capitals coach Todd Reirden on goalie Braden Holtby

"He's been playing great for us all year. It's no surprise. He goes to the front of the net, he makes a lot of small plays that I think go unnoticed, so it was great to see him get rewarded with a hat trick tonight. I couldn't be happier for him." -- Sabres captain Jack Eichel on forward Sam Reinhart

Video: Enterprise Hat Trick: Reinhart nets three vs. Caps

 

Need to know

The Capitals' power play was 0-for-10 in the three games against the Sabres this season. ... Washington won its previous four games against Buffalo. … Dahlin's goal was his third game-winner of the season, the most in NHL history by an 18-year-old defenseman. … Eichel's first assist gave him 65 points, an NHL career high.

Video: WSH@BUF: Ovechkin buries wrister on partial breakaway

 

What's next

Capitals: Host the New York Rangers on Sunday (12:30 p.m. ET, NHLN, SN, NBCSWA, MSG, NHL.TV)

Sabres: At the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday (7 p.m. ET, TVAS, TSN4, MSG-B, NHL.TV)

Video: Reinhart records third NHL hat trick in 5-2 win

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