December 22, 2018 / 3:11 AM / a month ago

Capitals squeak by Sabres

Tom Wilson’s tiebreaking goal in the third period sent Washington to its seventh straight home win over Buffalo as the Capitals beat the Sabres 2-1 on Friday.

With the game knotted at 1, Wilson scored after Evgeny Kuznetsov stole the puck from Buffalo goalie Carter Hutton behind the net and fed Wilson for his 10th goal at the 13-minute mark.

Buffalo went on the power play with 2:12 remaining, but Washington goalie Braden Holtby held on to earn the Capitals’ sixth win in the last seven games.

Chandler Stephenson also scored for the Capitals, and Holtby made 36 saves.

Johan Larsson scored for the Sabres, who have lost two straight, and Hutton stopped 22 shots.

Buffalo’s top line of Sam Reinhart (11 games), Jack Eichel (7) and Jeff Skinner (7) had their active point streaks come to an end.

The game between Buffalo and Washington — the third- and fourth-place clubs, respectively, in the Eastern Conference entering Friday — started with a test of special teams in the first period, as both teams’ penalty-kill units held the opposing high-octane offenses at bay.

The Sabres’ sizzling top line nearly scored in the first minute of the second period, but Eichel failed to net Skinner’s 2-on-1 pass. Washington made it worse for the visitors shortly thereafter on the game’s first goal.

With Buffalo on the power play, Washington center Nic Dowd lobbed a high pass to Stephenson, who beat defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen to the puck, raced in on a short breakaway on Hutton and lifted in his third goal of the season at 2:50.

The shorthanded goal was Washington’s second this season and fifth allowed by the Sabres, and Holtby made Stephenson’s first career goal on the penalty kill stand into the remainder of the period.

Holtby raced 40 feet forward out of his crease to beat Ristolainen to the puck after the defenseman’s poke check sent it into the Washington end on a breakaway. Then the goaltender batted the puck away twice as the crowd cheered the netminder’s stickwork out close to the blue line.

During a flurry in front of Holtby in the third period, the Sabres finally scored at 9:01 when Larsson chipped in Tage Thompson’s slap shot for his third goal to tie it at 1.

—Field Level Media

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