BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -Thomas Vanek scored his second goal of the game with a minute left in overtime to provide the Buffalo Sabres their first home win of the season in beating the Washington Capitals 3-2 on Saturday night.
Steve Montador also scored, while Ryan Miller stopped 23 shots in his first game after missing six with a hip injury. Jordan Leopold added three assists for Buffalo, which became the NHL's final team to win a home game this season, improving to 1-6-1.
Nicklas Backstrom and Karl Alzner scored for the Capitals, who had a six-game win streak snapped. ...more.
Thomas Vanek’s overtime game-winning goal was one for the highlight reel. He scooped up a loose puck in the neutral zone and circled back toward Washington’s end with two defenders standing between him and the goal. He neatly stickhandled past Capitals defenseman John Carlson, then deked around goaltender Braden Holtby’s poke check attempt and backhanded the puck into the net, sending Buffalo to its third win in four games.
Thomas Vanek made the most of his chances, scoring his fifth and sixth goals of the season to lead the Sabres to their first home win of the season. He scored a power play goal at 16:29 of the second period to snap his personal seven-game goal drought and break Buffalo’s stretch of four straight games without a power play goal when he knocked in a rebound. He then sent the sellout crowd of 18,690 at HSBC Arena home happy with his dazzling overtime goal that gave the Sabres the win.
We’ve got to start depositing wins in the account. We’ve got to build that bank account up because we owe our fans a few (wins) and that was a good team to start it against. - Head Coach Lindy Ruff
- The Sabres went to overtime for the fourth straight game and have gone 3-0-1 in those games.
- Steve Montador scored Buffalo’s first goal of the game to record his 100th career NHL point while fellow defenseman Jordan Leopold assisted on all three Buffalo goals for his third multi-point game of the season.
- Ryan Miller returned to the lineup after missing six games with a lower body injury and made 23 saves on 25 shots. Miller hadn’t played since Oct. 29 in Atlanta.
- Prior to the game, the Sabres honored forward Mike Grier for reaching the 1,000 NHL game milestone on Nov. 3 vs. Boston. He was joined on the ice by his family and received a commemorative crystal from the NHL. The Sabres organization presented him with a silver hockey stick, a framed piece that included the score sheets from his first NHL game and his 1,000th game, and the framed jersey that he wore on Nov. 3.
- Head Coach Lindy Ruff and General Manager Darcy Regier were also acknowledged in a video during the game for each reaching the 1,000 game milestone this season. Ruff coached his 1,000th NHL game, all with the Sabres, on Nov. 10 at New Jersey, and Regier reached his 1,000th game as an NHL GM on Oct. 30 at Dallas. Regier served as interim GM of the New York Islanders for four games during the 1995-96 campaign and is the 25th GM in NHL history to reach 1,000 games.
- Defensemen Mike Weber and Craig Rivet were Buffalo’s healthy scratches while defenseman Tom Poti and forwards Boyd Gordon and D.J. King were Washington’s scratches.
The Vancouver Canucks will make their first appearance in Buffalo since Oct. 17, 2008 when they visit HSBC Arena on Monday. The Sabres won that game by a 5-2 score, giving them wins in four of their last five home games against the Canucks. Monday’s game will be the only meeting of the season between Buffalo and Vancouver. The Canucks, who are led in scoring by Daniel and Henrik Sedin, will be playing their fourth consecutive road game against a Northeast Division opponent.