BUFFALO, N.Y. | Jay Beagle and Andrew Gordon already were having a solid night, but combining for a goal late in the third period made it a special one.
After Beagle tied it up in regulation, Brian Pothier’s power-play goal 49 seconds into overtime gave the Washington Capitals a 4-3 victory against the Buffalo Sabres in both teams’ preseason opener Thursday night at HSBC Arena.
Twenty-three seconds after Buffalo went ahead late in the final period, Gordon knocked the puck free with a check behind the Sabres’ net, then fed Beagle for a one-timer in front to knot the score at 3-3.
“I’m not going to be a goal scorer, but when I can chip in it is great,” Beagle said. “It is always nice to be rewarded. I thought our line was buzzing the whole night and really creating a lot of offensive chances.”
Alexandre Giroux, one of the players in the mix to replace the injured Tomas Fleischmann as a top-six forward in the early part of the season, had the lone goal in the opening two periods. Center Brendan Morrison fed him with a cross-crease, backhanded pass for an easy tap-in.
Including the postseason, Giroux had an American Hockey League-record 75 goals for the Hershey Bears last season.
“He may not look pretty, but he finds openings where he is [creating a] two-on-one - he has a sense of where to go when the puck is being free,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “He seems to get open a lot.”
Mike Knuble, the team’s top offseason acquisition, was credited with Washington’s second goal. Nicklas Backstrom fished the puck from a scrum near the left goal post and directed it toward Knuble in the crease to make it 2-2.
Knuble provided a glimpse of his strengths - forechecking, creating headaches for the opposition in front of the net and banging home goals around (and in) the crease.
Semyon Varlamov went the distance in net for the Caps. He stopped all 17 shots he faced in the first two periods before yielding three goals in the third.