Washington: Braden Holtby 13-11-0 2.66 GAA .916 SV% 4 SO
Buffalo: Jhonas Enroth 2-2-0 2.99 GAA .905 SV% 0 SO
Last Meeting: Mar 17 Capitals Won 5-3
Season Series: Capitals Lead 2-0-0
All-Time: Sabres Lead 83-43-16
All-Time vs. WSH: Sabres Lead 44-23-6
Panthers rally in third, defeat Sabres in shootout
Jonathan Huberdeau listened to some advice from an injured teammate, and it paid immediate dividends.
The Florida Panthers’ rookie sensation snapped a nine-game goal drought with a game-tying power-play tally with 6:09 left in regulation, then scored in the shootout as his team rallied to beat the Buffalo Sabres 5-4 on Thursday night at BB&T Center.
Huberdeau’s goal was his 13th of the season, tops among NHL rookies.
“I was watching a little bit the stats, but now I decided I’m going to stop watching that,” Huberdeau said. “It can go in your head. [Kris] Versteeg told me, just don’t watch the stats and it’s going to go well. I stopped actually three nights ago and now it went well. So now I’ve got to stop watching.”
Huberdeau, who hadn’t scored since March 8 against the Winnipeg Jets, couldn’t remember the last time he had gone that long without a goal at any level.
“Probably it was the longest,” he said of his drought. “But I don’t think about that. As long as we win, I don’t care if I don’t score for 15 games. We’ve just got to win.”
Huberdeau’s goal came in the second round of the shootout and was awarded after the play was reviewed, as the puck barely crossed the goal line. He scored after Buffalo captain Jason Pominville had given the Sabres a 1-0 lead on the opening attempt of the tiebreaker.
Florida won the shootout in the fourth round when Mike Santorelli beat Ryan Miller with a backhand-to-forehand deke and a high shot. The goal was Santorelli’s ninth in 18 career shootout attempts.
“Really? I don’t keep track,” Santorelli said. “All that matters is that one went in. I saw him poke check there and luckily I was able to go around him.”
Thursday marked the second consecutive meeting between the teams that went to a shootout. The Sabres won 4-3 at BB&T Center on Feb. 28, 25 days after the Panthers won 4-3 at Buffalo.
The New York Islanders started fast, took a strong counter punch and found a winner late Tuesday night, and they will wake up Wednesday morning two points from a playoff spot because of it.
John Tavares scored his 20th goal of the season with 5:18 remaining in the third period, and the Islanders claimed a key 3-2 victory against the Washington Capitals at Verizon Center in their quest for a spot in the top eight of the Eastern Conference.
“That line struggled a little bit in the first two periods but I talked with them after the second and I knew they were going to find a way,” Islanders coach Jack Capuano said of his top unit of Tavares, Matt Moulson and Brad Boyes. “When you need a big goal, it’s that line that usually comes up for us. It was good to see those guys respond in the third.”
Washington defenseman Mike Green lost the puck in his feet to the left of his own net; Moulson scooped it up and fed Tavares for a quick one-timer from the right circle. Tavares became the second player to reach 20 goals this season.
The Islanders, who haven’t made the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2007, moved past the Capitals and the Carolina Hurricanes into ninth place in the East with the victory. They trail the eighth-place New York Rangers by two points; the Rangers also have a game in hand.
“Not much has been accomplished just yet, so we’ve got to focus on the next game,” Tavares said after the Islanders won the opener of a four-game trip. “Obviously we’re happy with the result but it doesn’t mean a whole lot if we can’t get some momentum here.”
Washington forward Brooks Laich took responsibility for the Islanders’ game-winner, and coach Adam Oates called it a “tired play.” Laich was on the ice for 50 seconds before the goal and 80 seconds in his previous shift.
“I was a little fatigued, I went back and wanted to send it behind the net,” Laich said. “I didn’t think I could get it to Mike direct, and I didn’t want to turn it over in front of our net, so I sent it behind the net. Bad angle, bad decision by myself — I put Mike in trouble and the result was the winning goal.”
The Capitals (15-17-1) came home from a road trip with three straight wins and a chance to move into ninth, but a slow start and a second loss in as many contests against the Islanders damaged their charge towards a sixth consecutive playoff berth.
Dominik Hasek records his 55th regular season shutout as a Sabres, and his last, in a 4-0 win over the Thrashers at HSBC Arena. It’s the Dominator’s third shutout in 10 days. The Sabres clinch a playoff berth and reassume the league lead in fewest goals against. Miro Satan, Chris Gratton and James Patrick are among the scorers, and Steve Heinze chips in with three assists.
Washington: Erskine Upper Body(IR/Out), Kundratek Right Leg(IR/Out), Poti Back(IR/Out), Fehr Upper Body(Questionable), Ovechkin Chin(Probable)
Buffalo: Sulzer Right Knee Surgery(IR/Out), Vanek Lower Body(Questionable)
Next 5 Games:
Mar 31 vs. Boston Bruins 7:30 PM(MSG HD/NBCSN HD/TSN HD)
Florida: Jacob Markstrom 3-7-1 2.59 GAA .921 SV% 0 SO
Buffalo: Ryan Miller 11-14-4 2.88 GAA .911 SV% 0 SO
Last Meeting: Feb 28 Sabres Won(SO) 4-3
Season Series: Panthers Lead 1-0-1
All-Time: Sabres Lead 43-28-5
All-Time at FLA: Sabres Lead 19-17-2
Lightning hold off Sabres
The Tampa Bay Lightning gave their new coach something to be optimistic about.
With Jon Cooper watching the team he’ll officially begin coaching on Wednesday, the Lightning put together an energetic effort and held off the Buffalo Sabres 2-1 on Tuesday night at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
Cooper told the media before the game that he thought the Lightning still had a chance to make the playoffs. A few more efforts like this one and he might be right. With Mathieu Garon solid in net and Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis providing the offense, the Lightning showed little resemblance to the lackadaisical group that helped get former coach Guy Boucher fired. The Lightning were the aggressors all night, winning the battles for loose pucks and backchecking forcefully as they limited the Sabres to a season-low 14 shots on goal.
“Obviously, these guys are at a point where they’ve played hard and not have much to show for it as a group,” said Dan Lacroix, one of three assistant coaches who ran the team for the second straight game. “Trying to get two points and finally have smiles after a game and not just say that they worked hard tonight but there is nothing to show for it. Having a new coach watching probably helped a lot.
“I thought the intensity was there. The work ethic was there. Guys played extremely hard for each other and they showed that they care. They care about the team and the results.”
In addition to seeing another much-needed two points vanish, Buffalo also lost its top scorer, Thomas Vanek, who left the ice during the third period with an upper-body injury and did not return.
Tampa Bay had just two shots in the opening period, but grabbed a 1-0 lead at 16:01 when Stamkos backed into the left circle to find some space, took a pass from St. Louis and one-timed the puck over Ryan Miller’s glove. It was Stamkos’ League-leading 23rd goal of the season of the season.
“It feels great,” Stamkos said. “We wanted the puck today. We made plays and it showed out there.”
It has been an interesting season for Joffrey Lupul, to say the least.
The veteran right-shooting left wing broke his arm in the Toronto Maple Leafs’ fourth game of the season when he was nailed with an errant Dion Phaneuf slap shot, missed 25 games, then stormed back with three goals in two games before being suspended for two for an illegal hit.
“It’s a running joke with our team that he only stays for five games at a time,” said Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle, who took over from Ron Wilson late last season just before Lupul was lost with a shoulder injury. “Since I started coaching he’s only been in the lineup for 10 games. He got hurt last year then again this year, and then he got suspended.”
Since returning from the suspension, Lupul has picked right up where left off, scoring twice Tuesday night in a 3-2 nail-biter against the visiting Florida Panthers.
The Panthers, who have been decimated with injuries and are last in the overall standings, gave the Maple Leafs a tough test. Despite a slow start, Toronto managed to win its third straight at home behind 40 saves from Ben Scrivens.
Lupul, who scored once in a 3-2 shootout loss at the Boston Bruins on Monday, opened Tuesday night on a line with Nazem Kadri and Nikolai Kulemin. But when the Maple Leafs were outshot 16-7 in the first period and failed to generate any serious offense, Lupul was placed on a line with old mates Phil Kessel and Tyler Bozak. The trio worked instant magic.
“It was just a little shakeup,” Lupul said. “Things were a little stagnant for us in the first period, and I don’t know if it’s a permanent change, but sometimes a little switch can freshen everybody up. That’s what happened.”
Lupul, the seventh pick by the Anaheim Ducks in the 2002 NHL Draft, was well on his way to an all-star selection last season when the shoulder injury brought an abrupt end to his year. It would not be a stretch to suggest he was the best left wing in the NHL at the time of his injury, and he’s working to get back to that level.
“I probably didn’t expect this sort of start stats-wise, but I did put in a lot of work during the six weeks was out,” said Lupul, who has six goals and an assist in four games since March 16. “I did a lot of extra work on my skating, and that’s what feels different in my game now. I feel faster and my conditioning is pretty good.”
Today Starting Goaltender Matchup:
Tampa Bay: Mathieu Garon 3-8-0 3.00 GAA .904 SV% 0 SO
Buffalo: Ryan Miller 11-13-4 2.92 GAA .911 SV% 0 SO
Last Meeting: Feb 26 @ Lightning-Sabres Won 2-1
Season Series: Sabres Lead 1-0-0
All-Time: Sabres Lead 48-22-5
All-Time @ TBL: Sabres Lead 26-9-3
This Day In Sabres History:
March 26, 1979
The Sabres complete the first perfect Western road swing in team history with a 4-2 win at St. Louis, their fourth win in a row. Before that, Buffalo beat Colorado, Vancouver and Los Angeles.
Next 5 Games:
Mar 28 at Florida Panthers 7:30 PM(MSG HD)
Mar 30 vs. Washington Capitals 7:00 PM(MSG HD)
Mar 31 vs. Boston Bruins 7:00 PM(MSG HD/NBCSN HD/TSN HD)
Apr 2 at Pittsburgh Penguins 7:30 PM(NBCSN HD)
Apr 5 vs. Ottawa Senators 7:00 PM(MSG MD)
Montreal: Carey Price 16-4-4 2.34 GAA .912 SV% 2 SO
Buffalo: Ryan Miller 10-13-4 2.99 GAA .908 SV% 0 SO
Last Meeting: Mar 19 Sabres Won(OT) 3-2
Season Series: Sabres Lead 2-1-0
All-Time: Sabres Lead 118-107-37
All-Time at MTL: Canadiens Lead 68-42-17
Sabres win six-round shootout against Maple Leafs
Steve Ott’s shootout goal proved to be the difference in a wild game between the Buffalo Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs at a raucous First Niagara Center on Thursday.
The goal by Ott in the top of the sixth round of the shootout lifted the Sabres over the Maple Leafs 5-4.
Ott came in fast and slipped a backhand in past James Reimer’s left pad. Ryan Miller then stopped Clarke MacArthur to secure the extra point.
“I was excited. Anytime you get a chance to score a goal or to be in a shootout, those are fun games,” Ott said.
Toronto’s Tyler Bozak faked a shot then wristed one over Miller’s blocker in the bottom of the second round to put the Maple Leafs ahead. Drew Stafford kept Buffalo alive with a shot that trickled in off Reimer’s glove.
Nazem Kadri scored twice in regulation and added an assist, and Bozak and Mikhail Grabovski each had a goal for the Maple Leafs. Reimer stopped 32 shots. Kadri nearly put the Leafs ahead in the first round of the shootout, but Miller, sliding back into the net, managed to keep the puck out.
Miller made 30 saves. Tyler Ennis, Marcus Foligno, Jason Pominville and Christian Ehrhoff scored in regulation for the Sabres, who battled back from a 3-1 deficit in the second period. Foligno and Ennis scored before intermission to make it 3-3, and Ehrhoff gave them a lead early in the third.
“That’s character, absolutely,” Ott said. “It’s the process that we’ve continued to stick with in this dressing room for over a month now since [interim coach Ron Rolston’s] come in. We’ve tried to clean up details.”
Buffalo has won back-to-back games and has points in nine of its last 12.
“We’re doing it one at a time. We appreciate winning the last game and it’s a good job coming back tonight. Winning’s fun,” Miller said. “They’re not going to ask how you got it done when it comes down it. We have a job to do and just keep ticking them off one at a time and see where we end up here. I think that’s just the best way to do it.”
Canadiens dominate in third, top struggling Islanders
The Montreal Canadiens are the latest team to take advantage of the New York Islanders’ third-period woes.
Brian Gionta broke a tie 48 seconds into the final period, P.K. Subban and Brendan Gallagher added insurance goals, and the Northeast Division-leading Canadiens defeated the Islanders 5-2 Thursday night at Nassau Coliseum.
Gionta scored his 10th of the season and seventh in his past 11 games by deflecting a perfect shot/pass from David Desharnais behind Montreal native Kevin Poulin, who was playing in the Islanders net for the first time since Feb. 24.
Subban scored his second of the night and Gallagher added his ninth of the season in a 33-second span midway through the third to put the game away for the Canadiens (20-5-5), who are 14-1-4 in their past 19 games. The lone regulation loss was 6-3 to the Islanders on March 5 in their previous trip to Long Island.
“It’s a good feeling to know that when we’re in the middle of a game, we’re able to come out that strong when we need to,” Gallagher said. “It would have been good if we could have done the same thing in the first and second periods, but when the coach puts you on the ice in an important situation in the third, you just want to try and find a way to contribute however you can.
“As a team, we played a great third period,” he added. “I think it was an excellent road game for us.”
The Islanders have allowed 45 goals in the third period of their 30 games this season, by far the most in the NHL. New York surrendered four goals in the third period of a 5-3 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday and blew a 3-0 lead in the final period at the Florida Panthers on Saturday before scoring the game-winner in a 4-3 victory. The Islanders have been outscored 10-1 in the third period of their past three games.
New York has led or been tied in the third period in 24 of its 30 games but has lost 11 of those (13-8-3).
Clint Malarchuk is released from the hospital a day after getting his jugular vein in his neck cut by St. Louis Blues Forward Steve Tuttle in a Goal Crease Scrum. A joking Malarchuk at his press conference with his characteristic offbeat humor that doctors had done “a frontal lobotomy through my neck.” He also spoke very seriously about his near-death experience. “I thought I was dying then, I really did. I knew it was my jugular vein and I thought I didn’t have long to live,” he said.
Montreal: R. Bourque Concussion(IR/Out), Diaz Concussion(IR/Out), Weber Knee(IR/Out), Prust Separated Left Shoulder(IR/Out), White Lower Body(Out)
The Sabres had one of their more exciting games on the shorten season so far with a 5-4 Shootout Victory over The Toronto Maple Leafs. The Game featured 62 minutes of penalties and 61 hits one of the more physical and emotion filled games of the season. The game got off to a roaring start 2:04 in when John Scott Fought Leafs Frazer McLaren and Colton Orr went after Patrick Kaleta. After all was said and done the confrontations produced 44 minutes in penalties and a game misconduct for Colton Orr.
The Leafs Kicked off the scoring 8:48 into the 1st when Tyler Bozak ripped a screen shot past Sabres Goalie Ryan Miller. The Leafs would jump out to a 2 goal lead 1:16 later when Nazem Kadri tipped a Nikolai Kulemin pass past Miller. The Sabres would strike at the end of the 1st Period when Tyler Ennis beat Leafs Goalie James Reimer at the tail end of a Power Play. The Leafs got their 2 goal lead back again 8:52 into the 2nd Period when Mikhail Grabovski tipped Defensemen Jake Gardiner’s Point Shot. The Sabres would quickly answer back when Marcus Foligno jabbed in a rebound that Reimer left in the goal crease 2:47 later. Sabres Captain Jason Pominville would knot the game at 3 45 seconds later finished off a Cody Hodgson pass.
The Sabres took the lead 22 seconds into the 3rd when Christian Ehrhoff blew a slap shot past Reimer giving the Sabres there 2nd Power Play Goal on the Night. Nazem Kadri recorded his 2nd of the night to tie the game at 4 tipping a Cody Franson shot. The Game would remain tied after the 5 minute overtime period and went to a shootout. Tyler Bozak gave the Maple Leafs the lead in the 2nd round of the shootout when his shot trickled past Miller. Drew Stafford would tie the shootout at 1 when his shot hit Reimer glove and like Bozak’s attempt trickled across the goal line. The shootout would remain tied at 1 until Steve Ott beat Reimer in the 6th round of the shootout. Miller would stop ex-Sabre Clarke MacArthur on the next attempt to seal the 2 points for the Sabres. Miller picked up his 10th win of the season making 30 saves on the night. James Reimer picked up his 3rd overtime loss of the season stopping 32 Sabre shots. With the Win the Sabres vault into 11th place in the Conference and 4 points behind the 8th seed Carolina Hurricanes who lost 4-1 to the New Jersey Devils Tonight.
The Sabres head back out on the road for 3 games with their 2nd trip to Montreal this week on Saturday Night. Puck Drop is at 7:00 PM and can be seen on MSG HD.
Toronto: Ben Scrivens 6-8-0 2.63 GAA .915 SV% 2 SO
Buffalo: Ryan Miller 9-13-4 2.96 GAA .909 SV% 0 SO
Last Meeting: Feb 21 Maple Leafs Won 3-1
Season Series: Maple Leafs Lead 2-1-0
All-Time: Sabres Lead 103-61-23
All-Time vs. TOR: Sabres Lead 61-25-8
Sabres squander lead, but beat Canadiens in OT
The Buffalo Sabres have been a fragile team for most of the season, so perhaps Tuesday night could be a turning point in that regard.
Steve Ott’s second goal of the game came on a power play in overtime to give the Buffalo Sabres a desperately needed 3-2 win against the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday.
The Sabres had jumped out to a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes but then went into a total shell, getting outshot 26-5 from the start of the second to the 17:29 mark of the third period and allowing the Canadiens to come back to tie it. Were it not for goaltender Jhonas Enroth, the Sabres definitely would not have even made it to overtime.
Interim Sabres coach Ron Rolston saw his team’s play over the final 40 minutes of regulation as indicative of the nightmarish season it has gone through. But with the end result being positive he hopes this is the start of a turnaround.
“I think what you saw in the latter part of the game is kind of where we’re at right now,” said Rolston, who saw his team improve to 5-5-3 since he took over from Lindy Ruff on Feb. 20. “We had a two-goal lead, we played well, and then the confidence of our team – especially when they got their first one – we faltered a little bit there. I was happy that we caught ourselves, but that’s where we’re at right now as a team. I liked the fact that we’re building our resilient nature, but we also have to build the confidence in those games to be able to finish them off. That’s another step.”
Tyler Ennis also scored and Enroth made 32 saves, including 24 in the second and third periods to allow the Sabres (11-15-4) to earn just their second win in eight games (2-3-3).
“This was a real tough game for me, a lot of movement in the crease; I’m pretty tired right now,” Enroth said. “But I think the guys did a very good job blocking shots, clearing rebounds and jumping on pucks.”
Nazem Kadri continues to produce for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Kadri set a new career mark with three assists as the Maple Leafs snapped a five-game winless streak with a 4-2 victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Air Canada Centre on Wednesday.
Holding a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes, the Maple Leafs blew the game wide open before the halfway point, with three goals in the first 7:22 of the second period en route to a 4-0 lead after two periods.
Dion Phaneuf began the barrage 52 seconds into the second when he scored his fifth goal on a high drive from the blue line that eluded Mathieu Garon to make it 2-0.
Later, with Toronto pressuring, Phil Kessel came streaking in on Garon, but could not control the puck. As two Lightning defenders converged on Kessel, the puck bounded to Tyler Bozak, who was left alone in the slot and ripped home his eighth goal of the season at 6:53.
Bozak’s goal prompted Lightning coach Guy Boucher to pull Garon, who allowed three goals on 13 shots. His replacement, Anders Lindback, got a rude awakening as Nikolai Kulemin greeted him with a goal less than 30 seconds after Bozak’s marker.
Kadri caught the Lightning defenders on their heels, breezing over their blue line before passing it back to Kulemin, who was trailing. Upon receiving the puck, Kulemin dragged it around defenseman Radko Gudas before wiring a shot past Lindback for his fourth of the season.
After going eight games without a goal, Kulemin has now scored twice in as many games.
Garon’s exit turned out to be temporary. He reappeared in goal with 12:16 to go in the game as Lindback headed for the dressing room for an undisclosed reason.
While the Maple Leafs took the play to the Lightning, Tampa Bay was not without its chances in the middle period. Tyler Johnson took a centering feed in the blue paint, but James Reimer (26 saves) got his stick on the tip-in attempt.
Thanks To Jhonas Enroth great goaltending and Steve Ott 2 goal Performance the Sabres stole 2 points in Montreal with a 3-2 Overtime Win. Enroth who has played strong in his last 3 starts made 32 Saves on the night earning his 2nd win of the season. Enroth had to be strong in the 2nd and 3rd Periods primarily with the Sabres being outshot 26-8. Ott started the goal scoring when PK Subban gave the puck away at the Canadiens Blue Line and Ott ripped it inside the post at the 7:47 mark of the 1st Period. The Sabres jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period when Tyler Ennis tipped a Tyler Myers point shot with a minute left in the first.
Montreal picked up the tempo with strong play in the 2nd period out-shooting the Sabres 11-2 in the 2nd Period. The Canadiens finally got on the board after countless opportunities when Max Pacioretty netted his 9th of the season Enroth after the Sabres had trouble getting the puck out of the zone. Colby Armstrong would tie the game with 3:56 left in the 3rd Period after the Sabres were caught running around in the defense zone again.
The Sabres would get a glorious chance to win the game in overtime when recent callup Mark Pysyk got caught with a high stick from Canadiens defensemen PK Subban early in the overtime period. The Sabres would capitalize with 1 second left on that penalty when Ott slammed home a Jordan Leopold pass past Carey Price at the 2:16 mark of Overtime. Price got his 4th Overtime loss on the season stopping 18 of the 21 Sabres shots.
The Sabres will be in Montreal for the 2nd time this week with a meeting on Saturday Night. Before hand the Sabres come home to play division rivals Toronto Maple Leafs. Puck Drop is 7:00 and can be see on MSG HD.
Next 5 Games:
Mar 21 vs. Toronto Maple Leafs 7:00 PM(MSG HD)
Mar 23 at Montreal Canadiens 7:00 PM(MSG HD, CBC HD)
Mar 26 at Tampa Bay Lightning 7:30 PM(MSG HD)
Mar 28 at Florida Panthers 7:30 PM(MSG HD)
Mar 30 vs. Washington Capitals 7:00 PM(MSG HD)
Washington: Braden Holtby 9-9-0 2.97 GAA .909 SV% 3 SO
Buffalo: Ryan Miller 9-12-4 2.83 GAA .914 SV% 0 SO
Last Meeting: Jan 27 Capitals Won 3-2
Season Series: Capitals Lead 1-0-0
All-Time: Sabres Lead 83-42-16
All-Time at WSH: Sabres Lead 39-22-10
Turris leads Senators past Sabres in OT
The Ottawa Senators have played in a handful of close games lately and after two shootout losses, they were finally able to come away with two points Saturday.
Kyle Turris scored twice, including the winner in overtime on the power play, as the Senators defeated the Buffalo Sabres 4-3 at a sold-out First Niagara Center.
Ottawa’s last 11 games have been decided by one goal and the Senators have now gone 5-2-4 in that span. Six of those games have been decided either in overtime or the shootout.
“We don’t like playing 60 minutes,” goaltender Ben Bishop joked. “We like to play a lot longer than that so it’s a big win, a big road win.”
After serving as the backup for the last three games, Bishop stopped 33 shots.
Defenseman Mike Weber and forward Drew Stafford scored to put Buffalo ahead 2-0 after the first period.
The Senators tied it in the second period thanks to forward Patrick Wiercioch’s fourth goal in six games and a goal from defenseman Chris Phillips. Turris scored Ottawa’s third goal of the period to give his team the lead. Wiercioch added an assist on the first Turris goal as well.
With two assists in the game, Senators defenseman Sergei Gonchar extended his point streak to six games. He has eight assists in that span. Turris also assisted on Wiercioch’s goal, giving him four points in his last three games.
Stafford scored again with 7:54 left in the third period to tie the game 3-3.
Defenseman Christian Ehrhoff put the Senators on the game-deciding power play when he was called for interfering with Senators forward Mika Zibanejad with 2:44 left in overtime.
The Senators were patient with the puck with the man advantage in the extra period and after having several shots blocked, Turris accepted a pass from captain Daniel Alfredsson and ripped a one-timer from in close over Ryan Miller’s blocker.
“It was a great pass by [Alfredsson]. We were working the 4-on-3 pretty well there,” Turris said. “[Alfredsson] and [Gonchar] had a couple of good shots. I think [Guillaume Latendresse] hit the post. We were buzzing around their net and I was just lucky to put one in.”
Criticized top line responds for Bruins in big victory
In the days leading up to a Saturday matinee against the Washington Capitals, Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien had directed several critical words at his mostly silent trio of Milan Lucic, Nathan Horton and David Krejci.
Those three players, widely considered to be the No. 1 line on Boston’s depth chart, decided to finally make some noise on the ice against the team that shut them down in the playoffs last season.
Lucic set up first-period goals by Horton and Krejci and the three forwards combined for nine points as Boston bested Washington, 4-1, at TD Garden in a game that earned some level of revenge for a Game 7 playoff loss here last season and the Capitals’ comeback victory from earlier this month in Washington.
“Obviously, we haven’t scored for a while, but I think our line played a lot better tonight,” Horton said. “Like Claude said, when you’re thinking, you’re up and you’re making plays, you make more mistakes when you do that. Just get the puck deep. You saw that on every goal. I chipped the puck to [Lucic’s] corner. I don’t know how he got the puck every time.”
Anton Khudobin made 32 saves for Boston, while Michal Neuvirth, in a rare second straight start, made 34 saves for the Capitals.
In addition to three points, Horton capped a Gordie Howe hat trick with a fight against Matt Hendricks in the second period.
“They showed exactly what we need to see from them on a more consistent basis,” Julien said. “They were skating the north-south type game, they were forechecking, being physical. Because of that they were turning pucks over, and not only that, they were strong on the puck, and they made their chances count.”
The Capitals have now lost four of their last five and scored just six goals in their last four outings.
“Only because I feel a little snake-bit,” Capitals coach Adam Oates said about his concern with the offense. “We have had a lot of chances. [Nicklas Backstrom] gets robbed, [Jason Chimera] gets robbed. [Alexander Ovechkin] had a bunch of shots. Power plays could be better, Marcus [Johansson]. I’m not worried about production, it will be there, and you go through stretches.”