Score: Sabres 4 | Capitals 3
Shots: BUF - 48 | WSH - 31
Sabres Goals: Colin Miller (1), Victor Olofsson (3), Eric Staal (2)
Capitals Goals: Justin Schultz (1), T.J. Oshie (2), Nicklas Backstrom (1)
Plus 1 | Power Play Improvement
While the Sabres have, historically, struggled on the power play for many years, it seems to really be the elephant in the room in these first few games of this season. To be honest, the stars have actually been aligned for success against Washington this weekend (remember, they are facing a shaky new goaltender and the Caps are without a few of their top scorers), but Buffalo has been coming up short in front of the net.
It was not until halfway through the second period, that we finally saw not just one, but two power-play goals thanks to Colin Miller and Victor Olofsson, respectively. Out of the three times they were at the man-advantage in the second period, they actually had the most puck control on the power play that they did not score on - a preview for what was to come in the third period with Eric Staal’s one-timer. Staal’s goal would give the Sabres their first and only lead of regulation.
After 60 minutes, the Sabres were 3-for-5 on the power play - an accomplishment they have not seen since 2019.
It is also worth mentioning that Buffalo had no shortage of shot attempts today with nearly double that of Washington,
Plus 2 | Eich Eich, Baby
Perhaps the other elephant in the room this season is Captain Jack’s absence of goals - but not by lack of effort. He remains one of the top players in the league with total points and tonight was no exception as he tallied another point and shined in the overtime with several chances. He also led the team in ice time today with 24:28 and would eventually beat Vitek Vanecek in the shootout (while that will not count towards his individual statistics, it was still glorious). Will he get into the scoring groove? Of course; it is not a matter of if, but when. And Sabres fans will be ready.
Staal also gets an honorable mention here for his playing so far this season. The veteran scored his first goal as a Sabre on Friday night and ripped a beauty on the short side of Vanecek today. He looked good - real good.
Minus 1 | Let’s Get [More] Physical
Another historic problem in Buffalo? Lack of physicality. The Sabres spent much of their time today getting bumped around by the Capitals. In the first period alone, Garnet Hathaway was all over Taylor Hall (who later came very close to scoring on a penalty shot but hit the post). I am sure I speak for all fans when I say there needs to be more grit from Buffalo. When Rasmus Dahlin took a nasty hit a few games ago and left the ice, no one came to his defense or took the game to that next level. We do have a handful of players with substantial size. It is about time they use it.
The Sabres will look to make it two in a row on Tuesday night when they return home to face the Rangers at 7:00 PM.