by Brian Wheeler
After 13 goals, three fights and 60 minutes of action, the Buffalo Sabres walked away with a wild 8-5 victory over the Washington Capitals in HSBC Arena.
Taylor Pyatt recorded his second-career hat trick, Brian Campbell scored two goals and Tim Connelly notched a goal and two assists as Buffalo moves to 10-9-0 in the standings.
"He's been in sort of a limited role for us, and he took advantage," said Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff of Pyatt. "None of those goals were on the power play. Those were even-strength, working goals."
The 6'4'', 220-pound winger had been held goalless in 12 appearances this season, but continued to battle.
"It's always tough at the start of the year when you go through the first few games and you don't score but it was a big relief tonight," said Pyatt, who entered the game with just three assists and four penalty minutes. "Hopefully, I can keep things going."
Pyatt registered his first career hat trick on March 28, 2003 against the Montreal Canadiens.
"Any time you get three goals in one game it's definitely exciting because it doesn't happen a lot," said Pyatt. "Sometimes when you get that first goal, things just sort of open up out there."
The pair of goals for Campbell set a career-high for the Strathroy, Ontario native.
"It was pretty nice," said Campbell of scoring the second goal. "It doesn't happen too often for me. It was nice to get those goals and have the team battle one out in the last 30 minutes."
JP Dumont and Adam Mair also did their part. Each added two assists, while Mair also fought right wing Matt Bradley in the first.
"Adam made two great plays, skated well, got into a fight ... that's almost a Western League hat trick or close to it," joked Ruff. "Two points and a fight is a pretty good outing. Out West, they throw hats on the ice for that."
The multi-point performance was Mair's first since November 5, 2003.
"We talk about depth at scoring for our club and it was important tonight," said Ruff. "It looked at the end of the night like we were going to need nine or 10."
Martin Biron allowed five goals on 39 shots in the winning effort. Biron struggled with rebound control, giving up several quality scoring chances to Washington after saving the initial shot.
"I don't know if he's not seeing (the puck) that well or lost sight of it a couple of times, but that's an area of concern for myself and probably for Marty," said Ruff.
Campbell and Washington right wing Chris Clark traded goals in the opening five minutes of the first period to make the score 1-1.
Campbell beat Capitals goaltender Brent Johnson with a wrist shot on the Sabres first shot on goal, while Clark slapped in a loose puck through a crowd in front of Biron.
Ten minutes after Clark's goal, Buffalo's onslaught began.
Ales Kotalik ripped a one timer past Johnson from the left wing on the power play, while Pyatt chipped in two consecutive goals to give Buffalo the 4-1 lead heading into the first intermission.
Toni Lydman recorded the 100th point of his career with an assist on Pyatt's second goal.
The Sabres continued their assault in the opening eight minutes of the second with Dmitri Kalinin's first of the season at 3:16 and Campbell's second of the night at 8:33.
Washington got back into the game, 6-4, by the second intermission with goals from Andrew Cassels, Brian Sutherby and Alexander Ovechkin.
Pyatt completed his hat trick at 16:29 of the third to make the score 7-5. Ben Clymer cut the lead back to two goals 25 seconds later, but Connolly added the insurance goal at 18:02.
"The good stuff in the game outweighed the bad stuff," said Ruff.
----------------------------------------------------------- SCORING REPORTS
| Super Stats
| Faceoff Comp
| Play By Play
| Shift Chart GAME BLOG:
1-0 (0:37): Brian Campbell collects a loose puck and snaps a wrist shot past Brent Johnson to give Buffalo the lead. The goal is Campbell's third of the season. The goal is unassisted.
1-1 (4:06): Chris Clark ties the game just four minutes later. The goal is Clark's third of the season. Heward found the puck through a pack of players in front of Martin Biron and just swipped the puck in. Jamie Heward and Matt Pettinger get the helpers.
2-1 (14:36): Ales Kotalik fires a wicked one timer with a two-man advantage to regain the lead for Buffalo. The marker is Kotalik's ninth of the year and seventh power-play goal. Teppo Numminen and JP Dumont record the assists.
3-1 (16:18): Taylor Pyatt extends the Sabres' lead to two goals with a one-timer from the slot. Adam Mair skated around the back of the net and slides the puck to Pyatt who was wide open in front. The goal is Pyatt's first of the season. Mair receives the only assist.
4-1 (19:30): Taylor Pyatt scores his second goal of the game and season on a breakaway. Pyatt again received a pass Adam Mair and skated in untouched on Brent Johnson. Toni Lydman gets the second helper.
5-1 (3:16): After receiving a great across-ice pass from Jochen Hecht
, Dmitri Kalinin one times the puck past Brent Johnson. Hecht and Tim Connolly record the assists.
6-1 (8:33): Brian Campbell extends Buffalo's lead to five with a power-play goal. Campbell one timed a pass from Daniel Briere that Brent Johnson never saw for his second goal of the game. Assists go to Briere and Tim Connolly. It's the first multi-goal game of Campbell's career.
6-2 (11:06): Andrew Cassels cuts the Buffalo lead to four with his second goal of the season. Chris Clark adds his second point of the game with the first assist, while rookie Alex Ovechkin gets the other helper.
6-3 (14:17): Brian Sutherby scores a short-handed goal after snapping a wrist shot that beats Martin Biron over his left shoulder. The goal is unassisted.
6-4 (19:06): Alex Ovechkin cuts the lead to two with a hard one-timer from the left face-off circle on the man advantage. The goal is Ovechkin's 15th of the season and second point of the game. Andrew Cassels and Brian Willsie get the helpers.
7-4 (16:29): Taylor Pyatt completes the hat trick. JP Dumont and Daniel Briere record the assists.
7-5 (16:54): Ben Clymer cuts Buffalo's lead to two. Assists go to Sutherby and Bradley.
8-6 (18:02): Tim Connolly steals a pass from Brent Johnson for his fifth goal of the season. The goal is unassisted and Connolly's third point of the night.