January 29, 2013

Sabres Vs Capitals January 27, 2013
Game Review

Washington Capitals celebrate first win of season - Washington, DC January 27, 2013.
Photo © Nick Wass / AP Photo.

Buffalo Sabres 2 Vs Washington Capitals 3 = Home Game Win!

The Washington Capitals finally won themselves a game on Sunday - January 27, 2013, after having lost their first four (first time since 1993-1994), to start the -2012--2013 NHL Hockey season. Washington's victory came at home, and at the expense of the Buffalo Sabres, giving Adam Oates his first win as an NHL head coach.

Goaltender Michal Neuvirth had played very well in the two previous hockey games for the Capitals, earning the confidence of coach Oates, and a third consecutive start in net. He was, once again, his consistently brilliant self.

Most of the Caps players have shown improvement from game to game, and particularly in the third period of the last game, when they gained an overtime point against the New Jersey Devils. There are some who were ready before the first puck drop.

Yet a few, like defenseman John Carlson seem to be annual "slow-starters". Marcus Johansson was one of the healthy scratches for this game. I don't remember either of the previous head coaches ever sitting Johansson out. Perhaps this is a hint to the young forward, as he hasn't shown the urgency that he should be showing on the ice.

As usual with Washington so far this saeson, the other team scored first. Halfway through the first period, after a turnover by Carlson, Buffalo's Tyler Ennis sent a backhand shot into the net. However, the next three goals were all by Washington Capitals. The first of those came at 16:02, when right-winger Joel Ward scored his third goal of the season, on a play that started when Sabres goalie Ryan Miller turned over the puck with a bad clearing pass. Miller didn't get awarded with an assist, but Capitals forwards Jason Chimera and Mike Ribeiro did.

Both Ward and Chimera gained assists about three minutes into the second period, when Caps defenseman John Erskine eluded Drew Stafford (RW) at the point, and scored his first goal since 2011.

For the first time this season, Washington did not get into a high penalty count. There were only five penalties in the entire game, and the Capitals only received two of those. They did capitalize in a big way on one of Buffalo's three called infractions.

The Caps had to feel pretty good, actually leading (by one goal) in a game. Then, about five minutes into the third period, they added a power-play goal. The goal, which was the first of the season for Alex Ovechkin (LW / RW), turned out to be the game winner. He picked a good time to get his goal scoring started. Marcus Foligno (LW) added another for the Sabres in the middle of the final period, punching in his own rebound, amongst some serious crease area traffic.

This game was a joy to watch, after having to endure the four previous loses, and the lesser quality of play in those disappointments. It was great to finally see a truly good game. Both sides played hard, and there were still few mistakes. Everybody played with high energy all the way through the whole 60 minutes. These were professional NHL hockey players, and they were all playing to win.

Caps Postgame Locker Room 01/27/13: Caps players Troy Brouwer, John Erskine, Mike Ribeiro and Joel Ward address the media after a 3-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres.

Alex Ovechkin Postgame 01/27/13: Caps captain Alex Ovechkin addresses the media after scoring the game-winning PPG in today's 3-2 win against the Buffalo Sabres.

Adam Oates Postgame 01/27/13: Caps head coach Adam Oates addresses the media after a 3-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres.

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