The Washington Capitals blew a first period lead and a golden opportunity to take advantage of a rusty Ryan Miller in net and a disorganized Sabres team in front of him. Instead, they gave the game away in the second period and it took a major line shuffle from Coach Bruce Boudreau to even get the team to overtime. Nicklas Backstrom scored the game-tying goal 7:09 into the third period, but Thomas Vanek scored his second goal of the game with a minute to go in the extra session to give the Sabres their first home win of the season. Braden Holtby recorded his first NHL loss in what was an otherwise strong game (24 saves).
The Good: Karl Alzner scoring a goal in the first period. Alzner had not scored since December 6, 2008, a span of 61 NHL games. That extended the team’s streak to seven straight games with at least one goal by a defenseman. With an assist on the play, Alex Semin continued his scoring streak. That goal at 8:08 gave the Caps a lead going into the first intermission for the first time in recent memory.
The Bad: The second period. After outshooting the Sabres 13-6 in the first period, the Caps were outshot 11-4 and outscored 2-0 in the second. The Caps took 8 minutes in penalties and allowed a powerplay goal, too. The Capitals barely even got the puck into the Sabres end for the entire period, and when they did, Ryan Miller was ready for them.
The Ugly: Three double minors to the Caps. Two of these were high-sticking calls, but one of them was the result of alternate captain Jason Chimera chirping at the referees. Even though Chimera redeemed himself with an assist on the game-tying goal, he cost his team a chance for momentum early in the second period which let the Sabres take control of the game.