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Live from Capitals at Sabres

Settling in for Part 2 of the Alex Ovechkin Show, and the Sabres' lineup is as expected: Maxim Afinogenov and Andrew Peters are sitting while Nathan Gerbe and Paul Gaustad return.

FIRST PERIOD

7:08 p.m.: Game on.

7:09 p.m.: Lindy Ruff said Monday he was hoping the Sabre would avoid offensive-zone penalties. Just 46 seconds in, Derek Roy takes one.

7:11 p.m.: Brooks Laich scores on power play at 1:57. Ovechkin leads passing and shooting clinic as Sabres can't clear zone.

7:15 p.m.: Sabres' lines with the new additions: Thomas Vanek-Jochen Hecht-Jason Pominville; Clarke MacArthur-Derek Roy-Drew Stafford; Gerbe-Adam Mair-Ales Kotalik; and Gaustad-Matt Ellis-Daniel Paille.

7:23 p.m.: Ray Bourque's son, Christopher, scores his first NHL goal with 10:58 left. He capitalizes on huge Ryan Miller rebound when David Steckel takes slap shot from just inside the blue line.

7:37 p.m.: Ovechkin nearly sends MacArthur into the Sabres' bench with a check.

7:42 p.m.: End of one, Capitals have 2-0 lead and 12-10 edge in shots.

SECOND PERIOD

8:03 p.m.: Vanek hooked while breaking in on goal just 45 seconds in. MacArthur rings one off post on power play. Sabres are a team of near goals, while Caps are a team of goals.

8:07 p.m.: Vanek slashes the stick of a Capitals player to steal puck, and he's called for slashing.

8:15 p.m.: The Sabres have won 17 games and not won 19 so far. That's very mediocre (at best) and tonight they are less than mediocre.

8:17 p.m.: I like that the Sabres have begun introducing "Heroes of the Game," local servicemen who fight for the country. I'd put their names in the blog as they're introduced like I do in Tampa and other cities, but the Sabres don't put the guys' names on the scoreboard. And yes, that's a suggestion if anyone from the Sabres happens to see this.

8:22 p.m.: Capitals are capitalizing on rebounds, and Sabres will find it tough to rebound from 3-0 deficit. Miller kicks out another rebound on a shot from blue line, and Washington scores on the power play with 7:49 left.

8:26 p.m.: Fans are getting restless. Mock cheers for routine save by Miller, and boos after Ovechkin nearly scores on short-handed breakaway.

8:37 p.m.: End of two, and it's 3-0 Capitals. Said the fans: "Boooooo."

THIRD PERIOD

8:54 p.m.: The Sabres are 3-11-1 when trailing after two.

8:59 p.m.: Sabres' best shift of the night as Gaustad, Mair and Kotalik hit and provide energy. Will anyone follow suit?

9:05 p.m.: Mair and Gaustad deliver again, as Goose feeds Mair alone in slot. He goes high backhand with 12:19 to go. Fans are alive. Are any other Sabres?

9:16 p.m.: There's 4:53 left.

POSTGAME

Wow. Some strong words, as you'll read in the game story. The Sabres called themselves "soft" and "easy to play against" in their postgame players meeting.

Other quotes from the Sabres, who, in case you hadn't figured out earlier, were awful tonight in a 4-2 loss.

Coach Lindy Ruff on Hecht and Roy: "If Jochen Hecht isn’t our best player, if Derek Roy isn’t our best player, if those veteran guys aren’t our best players, we don’t have any chance of winning. They got outmuscled. Jochen got outmuscled, he lost some battles. One battle lost led to the goal. If they’re not our best players, we won’t win. It’s disappointing, it’s frustrating and I’m not going to hide from it. It’s upsetting.

"We’ll take them out of the lineup. Some of them will come out. That’s not an idle threat, either. If you don’t want to compete, if Matt Ellis wants to compete harder and Adam Mair wants to compete harder, then we’ll play the guys that want to compete harder. Then they can make a decision if they want to compete hard. That’s the only fair thing to do."

Miller: "That wasn’t a very strong effort from every position, starting with myself. Three rebound goals, I’m not thrilled.

"We need better than just average. I need to start elevating my game and paying attention to the little, tiny, small things that add up at the end of the night."

Vanek: "We don’t have time to just wait for a power play and see if we can get a goal. I think right from the get-go, we’ve got to play better five-on-five, set the tone early."

---John Vogl

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John Vogl

John Vogl

John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

@BuffNewsVogl | jvogl@buffnews.com

About Sabres Edge


Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.

@BNHarrington | mharrington@buffnews.com


Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz | amoritz@buffnews.com

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