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Sabres vs. Capitals Recap: The Rochester Sabres take down NHL giants

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The players you doubt the most came in clutch.

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Well, that was unexpected.

If you looked at the lineup, things didn't look peachy for the Sabres going into tonight's game. Tim Schaller and Phil Varone were dressed, and Brian Gionta moved up to the second line. And that's all against Washington, the best team in the Eastern Conference.

Yet, those same players that brought doubt brought the scoring. Schaller and Varone scored the first two goals, and the Sabres chased Braden Holtby in a 4-1 Sabres win. Holtby hadn't lost in his last 22 games, yet the Sabres beat him three times on 11 shots. The win ends a six-game home losing streak for the Sabres and pushes them to 3-1 in their last four games.

Evander Kane and Cody Franson rounded out the scoring. Kane had an assist as well to lead the team in scoring, and Franson's goal was his first since Dec. 19 against Chicago. Chad Johnson had a strong outing following Robin Lehner's return last night, making 33 saves on 34 shots. He gave up Washington's only goal to Marcus Johansson minutes into the third period.

Three Questions

1. Can the Sabres change their fortunes against the Capitals?

This game looked nothing like the previous two against Washington. Buffalo scored twice as many goals tonight than it did in both those games combined.

2. Where does Phil Varone fit in?

On the scoresheet, that's where. He fired in a huge rebound off Holtby's pads to score his first of the year and fifth of his career.

3. Will Pysyk look like his usual self?

I doubt Pysyk comes out of the lineup again anytime soon. He looked solid, most noticeably making a great defensive play on Evgeny Kuznetsov. He took Josh Gorges spot tonight, who was taken out late with an injury.

Highlights