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Point Streak Stays Alive on ‘Throwback Night,’ but Buffalo Falls Short in Shootout

Ovechkin nets game-winner in shootout

NHL: Washington Capitals at Buffalo Sabres Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Score: Capitals 4 | Sabres 3

Shots: WSH 40 | BUF 23

Buffalo Sabres Goals: Jeff Skinner (25, 26), Victor Olofsson (12)

Washington Capitals Goals: Anthony Mantha (7), Nick Jensen (5), Alex Ovechkin (41)

Plus 1 | Old Friends

It was a night of nostalgia with the legendary voice of Rick Jeanneret on the call and special guest Harry Neale as the color commentator. Neale worked alongside his buddy for five seasons between 2007-2012 and it was incredibly endearing seeing and hearing them together once again. Before the puck dropped, fans were treated with other Sabres staff in RJ wigs and special guests via video (like Stu Barnes) to honor these last few weeks of play-by-play from the man who has become every Buffalo fan’s favorite announcer.

“We’re setting an NHL record tonight. The oldest pair to ever broadcast an NHL game. 173 years old* when you combine us.” - Harry Neale

Neale joked with Jeanneret regarding their total number of years...adding six years to RJ’s actual age. The real total between the two is really 164.

Plus 2 | Party in the USA

Jeff Skinner’s smile never gets old and he had plenty to smile about tonight with his goals - one in the first period and another in the second period with a few chances sprinkled in between. This is Skinner’s eighth multi-goal game; he is now tied for fifth-most multi-goal games in the NHL this season (with Chris Kreider and Ovechkin, respectively).

Skinner would later have an incredible shift early into overtime to almost net his third of the game.

Remember when Ralph Krueger had him playing in the bottom six? Let’s all collectively boo that clown for old time’s sake to honor Skinner who deserved so much better and can finally shine once again.

Minus 1 | Slow Start

Mantha opened scoring for the visitors and, though Buffalo eventually bounced back a few times to take the game into OT, the first period was a slow one for the Sabres.

At the conclusion of the game, the Caps were almost 2:1 in shots on goal.

Speaking of slow, perhaps the toughest part of the game to watch was Evgeny Kuznetsov’s shootout goal. The forward literally inched toward the net at a glacial pace with plenty of stick handling to defeat Dustin Tokarski and change the momentum for the remainder of the shootout.

Final Thoughts

Tonight was a tight one and both teams looked decent throughout most of the night. This was also Buffalo’s fourth-straight overtime game. The last time they had four in a row go into overtime was March 2012(!). While the outcome of the game did not pan out in favor of the home team, it was entertaining minus some choppy, slow playing in the first period. The Sabres keep their streak alive with tonight’s point and have been shining during the month of March as they are 7-3-1 in their last 11.

Three Stars:

1. Jeff Skinner (2G)

2. Rasmus Dahlin

3. Alex Ovechkin (1G, One Shootout-Deciding)

Next up: the Sabres travel to the big apple to face the Rangers on Sunday with a 5:00 puck drop.