by Brian Wheeler
It was a reversal of trends in Rochester on Wednesday night. Buffalo entered the game as the most active team in the league, averaging more than 36 shots a game, while Washington's defense had allowed at least 40 shots in the last four games.
When the final horn sounded, the Sabres had fired just 17 shots on goal and had suffered the team's third loss of the season, 3-2, to the Washington Capitals in Blue Cross Arena.
''We were a shadow of ourselves five-on-five, just a shadow,'' said Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff following the loss. ''I can't find a forward that I liked tonight.''
One of the few positives in the game for the Sabres was their special teams units. Buffalo scored both their goals on the man advantage and killed six of Washington's seven power plays.
Unfortunately, the only converted power-play for Washington proved to be the game winner.
With only six seconds remaining in a two-man advantage for the Capitals with 15 minutes left in regulation, Jamie Heward's one timer from the left point beat Ryan Miller
high on his glove side giving Washington the 3-2 lead.
''(Washington) made more things happen, they didn't turn over as many pucks and they didn't take as many undisciplined penalties,'' stated Ruff. ''They deserved to win the game.''
Ales Kotalik opened the scoring in the game with a hard one-timer from the right point at 14:28 in the first period.
Kotalik is in the midst of a three-game scoring-streak (3+1) after notching the game-winning goal and an assist at Boston on October 20, a goal against the New York Rangers last Saturday and the power-play marker against Washington.
Kotalik's longest point streak in his career is five games and nine points (6+3).
Buffalo would hold the lead for just 22 seconds as Jeff Friesen snapped a wrist shot from six feet past goaltender Ryan Miller
. Miller finished the game making 25 saves.
''When you commit the type of turnovers we did in the first period, it tells you that our team is trying things that we normally wouldn't do,'' said Ruff.
Less than 2 minutes into the second period, Petr Sykora gave Washington their first lead of the game after he snapped a backhander over a sprawled out Miller. Jochen Hecht
answered 20 minutes later with Buffalo's second power-play goal at 1:18 of the third, one timing a deflected pass from the left face-off circle over the left shoulder of Kolzig.
Less than a minute after Hecht scored, Kotalik and Rory Fitzpatrick each took a penalty which led to the deciding power play.
''We took the penalties that allowed them the five-on-three and then we took the penalty late when we had very little momentum going,'' said Ruff. ''We took ourselves out of the game again.
''I thought our forwards should have been able to take advantage of that defense, and they didn't.''
Buffalo falls to 6-3-0 on the season and travels to New Jersey to face the Devils on Friday night.
--------------------------------------------------- SCORING REPORTS
| Super Stats
| Faceoff Comp
| Play By Play
| Shift Chart GAME BLOG:
1-0 (14:28): Ales Kotalik rips a one-timer by Olaf Kolzig from the right point for the power-play goal. Buffalo has now scored a power-play goal in each of the team's last three games. Maxim Afinogenov (3) and Toni Lydman (4) record the assists.
1-1 (15:00): Jeff Friesen ties the game just 22 seconds later, getting loose in front of Buffalo's net and snapping a wrist shot past Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller
. Petr Sykora and Steve Eminger record the assists. Period 2
1-2 (1:48): Petr Sykora gives Washington their first lead of the game after tipping in a rebound past a sprawling Ryan Miller
for his second goal of the season. Matt Pettinger broke into the Buffalo zone and wristed a 15 foot wrist shot that Miller deflected to the opposite side of the net to Sykora. Steve Eminger is credited with his second assist of the game on the play. Period 3
2-2 (1:18): After drawing the penalty, Jochen Hecht
one-times a pass that deflected off a Washington skate over Kolzig to tie the game. Drury's pass from behind the net was intended for Daniel Briere but was redirected to a wide-open Hecht, who was waiting to the right of the left face-off circle. Buffalo has scored both of the team's goals tonight on the power play. Drury and Daniel Briere record the assists.
2-3 (4:22): With only six seconds remaining in a two-man advantage for the Capitals, Jamie Heward's one timer from the left point beats Ryan Miller
high on his glove side to give Washington the lead with only 15 minutes left in regulation. Bryan Muir and Alexander Ovechkin register the assists.
Quotes provided by WGR 550-AM, the official radio partner of the Buffalo Sabres.