WASHINGTON -- I get asked a lot what is my favorite road city. Depending on the day, it changes.
New York makes you feel so alive, with its bustle and never-sleep attitude. It's tough to beat the beach in Fort Lauderdale for Panthers road trips. Phoenix brings out that adventurous spirit, with mountain climbing and outdoor desert activities. The food and sightseeing in San Francisco during San Jose trips are astounding. The familiarity of Ottawa is nice. For pure hockey, you can't beat its birthplace -- Montreal. Nashville is the only place where the bars are packed when the morning skate starts at 10:30 a.m.
But for reflection, architecture and and stunning sights, there's nothing like D.C. The nation's capital has it all. Walked around for three hours this afternoon, and despite having seen all the monuments, memorials and buildings before, it felt like the first time. This place is just right.
(Side note: Best invention ever is the camera phone. It allows you to bring people to the sites with you, even though they're back in RC Land.)
And I needed the three-hour walk after stuffing my entire body with steak, steak and more steak at Fogo de Chao. If you've never been to one, you must go. I first heard of it a long while back when co-worker Mark Gaughan praised it in his NFL Power Rankings, which for my money is still the best regular feature in our paper.
Well, back to hockey soon. The Sabres are starting with the line of Cody McCormick-Rob Niedermayer-Mike Grier and the sizzling defensive pair of Jordan Leopold-Steve Montador. Ryan Miller is in net.
7:09 p.m.: Game on.
7:12 p.m.: As usual, lots of Blue and Gold in the stands here, including my cousins Jim, Kathy and Suzy Juraska. Thanks for the food, sodas and fun last night!
Sabres get first power play with Tyler Sloan leaving for slashing with 16:19 left.
7:16 p.m.: Two shots for the Sabres on the power play, which featured bouncing pucks and off-the-mark passes. Looks like the ice might be a bit chippy, but it's the same for both teams so that's not an issue.
7:18 p.m.: It's 0-0 with Caps holding a 5-4 shot edge at first commercial with 13:24 to go.
7:24 p.m.: Chant of "Let's go, Buffalo'' is quickly drowned out by "Let's go, Caps," led by the dude with the annoying horn right below the press box. It's 0-0 with 10:34 to go.
7:27 p.m.: The Capitals get their first power play with 9:05 left. Matt Bradley hustles into the Buffalo zone on a dump in and bangs Chris Butler behind the net. Butler quickly hooks him for the penalty.
7:30 p.m.: Double whammy for the Sabres as Tyler Myers goes for holding with 8:52 left. It's five-on-three for 1:47, and Myers is usually one of the five-on-three guys.
7:32 p.m.: It was only a matter of time. Miller made big saves on Alex Ovechkin and Mike Green, but Alexander Semin spotted Nicklas Backstrom at the opposite side of the crease and fed him for the one-timer with 7:29 left. It's 1-0 Washington.
7:38 p.m.: The Capitals maintain their 1-0 lead with 5:08 left. They also have a 9-6 shot edge. Sabres are on their heels following the penalties.
7:42 p.m.: Capitals make it 2-0 with 2:56 left. Jason Chimera sends a no-look pass between his legs to the front, and Matt Bradley fans on the shot but slips it through Miller's pads.
7:46 p.m.: The Sabres head to the dressing room in a 2-0 hole and with an 11-8 shot deficit.
8:05 p.m.: And they're back...
8:07 p.m.: Miller's glove hand seems just a bit off since his return from injury.
8:08 p.m.: The Sabres' trouble covering plays from behind the net to the front continues. Chimera, below the goal line, feeds David Steckel in the slot for a one-timer. It's 3-0 with 17:15 to go.
8:15 p.m.: A nice pad save by Miller on Brooks Laich keeps the score 3-0. There is 11:40 left.
8:16 p.m.: Whoa, that's quite a promotion. If the Caps score in the final two minutes of the second period, a contestant wins free Lasik eye surgery. That's much better than a free T-shirt, eh?
8:21 p.m.: Sabres get a much-needed power play with 8:28 left. Mike Green held Thomas Vanek. The game has belonged to the Capitals, so the Sabres could use this to get some life.
8:24 p.m.: And there it is. Derek Roy scores high to the glove side with 7:53 left, pulling the Sabres within 3-1 with a power-play goal.
8:25 p.m.: Jordan Leopold pulls the Sabres within 3-2 with 7:05 to go. He swoops in to put home a loose puck in front.
8:28 p.m.: The Sabres are headed back to the power play with 5:41 after Ovechkin flips the puck over the glass for delay of game.
8:29 p.m.: Standing ovation for Army Specialist Mathew Yarger. HSBC Arena is still the only rink that doesn't give standing O's for military personnel, but I have noticed a few people standing lately to applaud. It should be all of them.
8:37 p.m.: The Sabres head to the dressing room in a 3-2 hole. They have a 23-20 shot advantage after a 15-9 second period.
8:55 p.m.: The Capitals are 7-0 when leading after two periods, while the Sabres are 2-8 when trailing after two.
9:02 p.m.: It's still 3-2 Washington with 14:20 to play.
9:02 p.m.: Ovechkin is due.
9:03 p.m.: Jason Pominville, alone in front, couldn't connect on a bouncing pass from Jochen Hecht with 13:28 to go.
9:10 p.m.: The second of three TV timeouts comes with the Caps holding their 3-2 lead with 9:17 to go.
9:14 p.m.: Chimera gives the Sabres a power play with 8:43 left when he hooks Roy.
9:17 p.m.: Michal Neuvirth stones Pominville and Leopold on the power play to keep Washington in front. There's 4:50 left.
9:24 p.m.: The Sabres have just 1:49 left to score and extend their unbeaten streak.
9:27 p.m.: Sabres call timeout with 7.4 seconds left and a faceoff coming in the Washington end.
9:28 p.m.: Washington wins, 4-2, as Semin shoots the puck the length of the ice with 3.2 seconds left.