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Capitals dominated by a Sabres team minus nine regulars
Ovechkin, Backstrom both minus-4 in 5-1 loss
Sabres coach Lindy Ruff added: “The Kassian goal was really a momentum-killer for them. That could’ve taken them a long ways the other direction.”
Minutes later, Backstrom was whistled for cross-checking 28 seconds into a power play, nullifying another Caps’ chance. With four scoreless tries Saturday, they’re now two for their last 39 on the man advantage.
Defenseman Roman Hamrlik and Dennis Wideman both endured another brutal night, each accumulating their second consecutive minus-3 effort. Fresh off their tough afternoon in a 6-3 home loss Friday to the New York Rangers, they earned two early minuses.
On Luke Adam’s score at 10:47, Wideman let Paul Szczechura feed the rookie from the end boards. Then Wideman couldn’t outmuscle Jason Pominville when the puck bounced into the air before the Sabres‘ second goal.
“Obviously, it wasn’t going to be a success, so we had to change something,” Boudreau said.
“Usually winning is the norm around here,” winger Mike Knuble said. “[It isn’t] right now, so back to the drawing board. The first thing we do is keep the goals against down.”
Adam scored his second 1:12 into the third period, and then Jochen Hecht tallied on a short-handed breakaway at 14:39.
Center Brooks Laich said the Capitals “can’t over-complicate things” and wants to strip their game down to “the very basics.”
“I thought some guys worked and played hard,” he said. “It just wasn’t there tonight. I don’t know what to say.”
Notes: Struggling winger Alexander Semin, a healthy scratch Monday, was called for diving in the second period, his ninth minor penalty in the last 10 games. … The Sabres lost defenseman Robyn Regehr and winger Drew Stafford in a 5-1 loss Friday in Columbus. Defensemen Tyler Myers and Mike Weber; goalie Ryan Miller; wingers Brad Boyes, Tyler Ennis, Patrick Kaleta and Cody McCormick are the other injured players. … The Sabres recalled defenseman Brayden McNabb, who made his NHL debut, and Szczechura, a veteran forward, prior to the game. Szczechura had two assists in his first big-league action since April 2, 2010. … Ovechkin has been a minus-4 four times in his career, Backstrom twice. Ironically, both last registered the rating Nov. 20, 2008 in Los Angeles. … The Capitals play the Sabres again on the road Dec. 26. … The Sabres had lost three straight. They improved to 5-6-1 at home.
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