The Washington Capitals came from a two-goal deficit to claim a big win by beating the Buffalo Sabers 5-4 in a shootout on Wednesday.
Both teams entered tonight’s game with 71 points, but the Caps were able to edge out their rivals in the standings despite the latter having two games in hand. Washington is still five points behind in the final playoff spot, which is occupied by the New York Islanders, who defeated the Ducks later today.
Alex Ovechkin scored his 37th goal of the season on his return and added an assist after missing yesterday’s game against Rangers with a lower body injury.
Ovi first cut the deficit to 4-3 midway through the third period, then Tom Wilson tied the game 68 seconds from time as the coach pulled his goalie in favor of an additional striker. Authors of a goal each in regulation time, Evgeny Kuznetsov and TJ Oshie again shone the red light in the shootout, while goalkeeper Charlie Lindgren held the fort in front of the cage against Alex Tuch and Tage Thompson.
Lindgren finished the game with 23 saves in the win, compared to 35 for Ukko-Pekka Luukonen.
The Sabers took a 2-0 lead after nine minutes thanks to Ilya Lyubushkin and JJ Peterka. Tyson Jost and Zemgus Girgensons were the other scorers in the loss, while Peyton Krebs had two assists.
Islanders bounce back fast
The New York Islanders rebounded with a 6-3 win over the Anaheim Ducks after losing their first of three road games yesterday to the Los Angeles Kings.
The Isles have won both games between the two teams this season, having signed their first victory of the campaign by a score of 7-1 on October 15.
Pierre Engvall scored in a third straight game and added an assist. Kyle Palmieri, for his part, scored the first goal for his team and finished with a harvest of four points. It was a first for him in 724 NHL games. The striker also began his career with the Ducks, who selected him in the first round of the 2009 draft.
The Ducks took a 2-1 lead late in the first period, but Hudson Fasching tied the game in the second and Brock Nelson’s first of two goals proved to be the winner. He reached the 30-goal mark this season for the second time in his career after scoring 37 last year. Zach Parise completed the mark.
Kevin Shattenkirk also scored twice in a losing cause, as Max Jones broke the ice just 25 seconds into the game by beating Ilya Sorokin on the mitt side when he was posted alone in the slot.
Sorokin ultimately stopped 20 of 23 shots aimed at him, while John Gibson was roughed up by yielding six times on 33 shots.