It was a game that Buffalo had to have but Alexander Ovechkin led the Capitals to a 3-1 victory by scoring two goals. That makes five goals in the last two games for Ovechkin who had a hat trick on Monday against Boston in a 10-2 victory. The Sabres had plenty of opportunities but Olaf Kolzig was there to make the saves every time he was challenged. Kolzig made 25 saves while Ryan Miller had 20 at the other end.
The Sabres only goal came about half way into the second period to tie the game at one. The goal came on the power play but Buffalo was 1-for-5 on the power play for the night. It took the power play awhile to get comfortable with Tim Connolly out of the lineup. It became apparent how much they missed Connolly and you have to wonder if he should stay in the lineup in back-to-back games but only play on the power play. I think it would benefit Buffalo to have him dressed for that reason.
The game was not without controversy, the Caps second goal came after Steve Bernier had cleared the zone and appeared to be tripped by Ovechkin. Bernier lost the puck and the Caps Nicklas Backstrom beat Miller just seconds later. I have watched the replay many times and it looked like a bit of a slew foot. It's amazing how things come full circle from last night when Buffalo benefited from a missed call on Roy's goal. The refs missed a blatant too many men penalty on Buffalo when Roy scored the eventual game winner on Tuesday. The other controversial play was a no goal for the Sabres. The referee had lost sight of the puck and blew the whistle just seconds before the puck slipped over the line and into the net. As it turns out the right call was made and you have to give credit to the NHL for reviewing the play.
There has been plenty of talk about the Sabres losing Campbell in a trade but the loss of Henrik Tallinder is much bigger and was painfully evident tonight. The pairing of Lydman and Kalinin was awful tonight and allowed too many breakaways. If they weren't allowing Ovechkin behind them they were giving the puck away. It obviously didn't help Kalinin to get benched for a game because he looked completely out of place all night.
The Sabres have a couple of days off before traveling to Carolina for a game on Saturday night. It will be the first of two games with the Canes over the next week. The Sabres looked like a tired team at times tonight and should use their time off wisely to get ready for what they hope will be a playoff run.