The Sabres got on the board early with a nice passing play. Jack Eichel hit Jeff Skinner down low and he made a great backhand pass out front to Jason Pominville all alone to get the early lead.
In the second half of the period they increased their lead to two. Sam Reinhart got free on the wing and snapped a shot over the shoulder of Brayden Holtby.
The Sabres would hold their 2-0 lead after one.
Early in the second, the Capitals got themselves back in the game. Matt Hunwick fumbled a puck at the offensive blue line that allowed Alex Ovechkin to get free on a breakaway. He made no mistake and beat Carter Hutton with a nice shot to make it 2-1.
Things got worse for the Sabres late in the period. Skinner got tangled up with Carl Hagelin in front of the net. He twisted his ankle and went down with what looked liked a bad lower-body injury. He needed help getting off the ice and didn’t return for the rest of the period.
However, the Sabres were able to get their two-goal lead back before the period ended. Eichel made a nice cross-ice pass to Rasmus Dahlin and he hammered a one-time by Holtby to make it 3-1 after two.
The third period started with a huge surprise. Skinner was on the ice for the opening face off. Just 20 minutes prior, fans were talking about how he could be out for the season and he played the entire period.
Less than five minutes into the third the Capitals got back within one again. Andre Burakovsky deflected a point shot by Hutton.
Again, the Sabres took back control just over a minute later. Reinhart scored his second of the game with a deflection of his own off a shot from Matt Hunwick
Hutton made a few nice saves, but the Sabres did a nice job in front of him defensively. He was rewarded for his strong play by picking up an assists on Reinhart’s third goal of the game on the empty net to seal the win.
Final: Sabres 5 | Capitals 2
Shots on Goal: Sabres 38 | Capitals 33
Sabres Goal Scorers: Jason Pominville (14), Sam Reinhart (15, 16, 17), and Rasmus Dahlin (8) (PPG)
Capitals Goal Scorers: Alex Ovechkin (44) and Andre Burakovsky (8)
Three Stars of the Game
1. Sam Reinhart (3 G)
2. Jack Eichel (2 A)
3. Carter Hutton (31 saves on 33 shots, 1 A)