- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 18, 2005


The Washington Capitals’ preseason performance last night against the Sabres in Buffalo was a turnaround from their dreadful exhibition against the Hurricanes in Raleigh, N.C., the previous night. Unfortunately, the result was the same.

Rookie Thomas Vanek scored 34 seconds into overtime to power the Sabres to a 3-2 win over the Caps, lowering Washington’s preseason record to 0-2. It was Buffalo’s preseason opener.

The Caps held a 1-0 lead entering the third period thanks to a midseason-like performance by veteran goalie Olie Kolzig, who turned aside all 21 shots he faced. He gave way in the third to rookie Maxime Daigneault, who took the loss.

Washington took its lead 11:02 into the first period when left wing Matt Pettinger scored off assists from Jared Aulin and Jamie Heward while the Caps were on a 5-on-3 advantage. Buffalo went down two men for interfering with Kolzig for the first penalty and then starter and winning goalie Martin Biron played a puck outside the trapezoid, breaking one of the new rules.

Buffalo tied the game on its first shot of the third period on a power play, but the Caps moved back in front at 5:10 when defenseman Bryan Muir whacked the puck past Biron after a scrum in front. But Vanek tied it again three minutes later and won the game in overtime.

Despite the loss, the quality of play was a reversal for the Caps from their dismal outing against Carolina, when their charter flight and ensuing bus ride delivered them to the rink just 40 minutes before the game. Yesterday they arrived in Buffalo early and had two hours to casually prepare for the game, enough time to settle everyone’s nerves.

Dave Fay

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