November 27, 2005
by Brian Wheeler
Maxim Afinogenov showed how good of a passer he can be in the nation's capital on Sunday. Afinogenov set-up two of Buffalo's three goals with perfect across-ice passes, as the Sabres held on to take a 3-2 victory at the MCI Center and extend their winning streak to three games.
"We talked about really wanting to press," said Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff. "We wanted to create as much pressure as we could."
also added two assists for Buffalo, who has now claimed 13 of a possible 14 points in the team's last seven games.
With Taylor Pyatt suffering a wrist injury against Montreal on Friday night, Jason Pominville
was recalled from Rochester for the second time this season and saw more than 15 minutes of ice time against the Capitals.
"I try to take each day at a time," said Pominville when asked about his assignment to Buffalo. "I just want to go out there and do my best."
Pominville, who had been on a hot-streak recording 17 points (12+5) in the Amerks last 12 games, did just that, scoring his first career-NHL goal to give Buffalo the 1-0 lead in the first.
He one-timed an across-ice pass from Afinogenov past Washington goaltender Olaf Kolzig for the power-play marker.
"It's great feeling and hopefully, it's one of many," said Pominville of his first goal. "I want to try to force them to keep me here and if not, I'll go back to Rochester, do well down there and try to earn my way back here."
The Repentigny, Quebec native has been a power-play specialist for Rochester the past three seasons, scoring 42 goals on the man-advantage during that span.
"That something that I do a lot of in Rochester," said Pominville. "They put me on the backside, I slide down, Max made a nice pass and I just buried it.
"It's always fun when a coach shows confidence in you and it really gives you confidence knowing you have that support. (Lindy Ruff) even put me out there on the penalty kill. I was more surprised about that than anything."
Steve Eminger tied the game 1-1 at 5:16 of the second after slapping his own rebound past Buffalo goaltender Martin Biron.
Biron made the initial stop on Eminger's first shot but failed to direct the rebound to safety.
"I was concerned because Marty hadn't been seeing a lot of action," said Ruff of Washington's 11 shots through two periods of play. "Sometimes that's a tougher game to play than when your seeing 11 or 12 shots a period. In those situations, you're relying solely on focus and concentration."
Biron would finish the game making 17 saves and allowed a goal in each the second and third periods.
Buffalo regained the lead with just 49 seconds remaining in the second after Afinogenov once again slung an across-ice pass, this time to Thomas Vanek
, for a one-timer and the 2-1 lead. The goal was Vanek's fourth of the season and first in seven games.
scored Buffalo's first short-handed goal of the season at 16:23 to put the Sabres up 3-1 with less than four minutes remaining in regulation.
"It was a heck of a time for our first short-handed goal of the year," said Ruff. "It was a great shot by Jochen and a nice pass by (Tim) Connolly."
Washington surged to life in the final minutes of play with a goal from Matt Pettinger at 18:01 to make the score 3-2.
| Super Stats
| Faceoff Comp
| Play By Play
| Shift Chart GAME BLOG:
1-0 (3:56): Jason Pominville
scores his first career-NHL goal on the power play to give Buffalo the early lead. Derek Roy
passed to Maxim Afinogenov in the right corner, who quickly slung the puck thru traffic to Pominville for the one-timer on the right wing.Period 2
1-1 (5:16): Steve Eminger snaps his own rebound past Martin Biron for Washington's first goal of the game. Biron couldn't control Eminger's initial shot and the rebound went directly to the defenseman, who was following his shot. Bryan Muir and Alex Ovechkin record the assists on the power-play goal.
2-1 (19:11): Thomas Vanek
gives Buffalo a one-goal lead after one-timing Maxim Afinogenov's across-ice pass past Olaf Kolzig with only 49 seconds remaining in the second period. Afinogenov and Derek Roy
each records their second assist of the game on the play.Period 3
3-1 (16:23): Jochen Hecht
scores Buffalo first short-handed goal of the season, extending the Sabres' lead to two. Hecht cut to the net after receiving a pass from Tim Connolly, and beat Olaf Kolzig top-shelf with a backhand shot.
3-2 (18:01): Matt Pettinger rips a loose puck past Martin Biron to cut the Sabres' lead to one with just 1:59 remaining in regulation. Jeff Halpern and Brian Willsie get the assists.
Quotes courtesy of WGR 550-AM, the official radio partner of the Buffalo Sabres.